Soccer Without Borders

Rating: 5 stars   17 reviews


9 Waterhouse St. Cambridge MA 02138 USA


Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.


In the past year, SWB has worked with 1200 youth from 43 countries at core, seasonal and camp programs. Additionally, SWB engaged 1500 youth through outreach and one-day events. SWB’s mission of facilitating growth, inclusion and personal success for newcomer youth is made possible by the quantity of direct hours invested at our programs (average core participants spend 12-15 hours/week with SWB). That depth of programming creates a team environment where youth can experience: Growth 85% of core participants surveyed agree that because of coming to SWB they feel more comfortable expressing themselves 83% of core participants surveyed agree that because of coming to SWB they make healthier choices Inclusion 92% of core participants surveyed agree that because of coming to SWB they feel more comfortable around people who are different from them and 94% agree that because of SWB they had made new friends Personal Success In 2012, 67% of middle schoolers and 86.7% of high schoolers improved their grades at SWB Baltimore. In the same year, 47.6% of participants qualified for their schools’ honor roll. Since 2007, 94% of regular SWB USA participants have graduated high school compared to the national average of 60%.

Target demographics:

SWB USA creates positive team communities for newcomer refugee, asylee and immigrant youth. Each year, close to 80,000 refugees and 500,000 immigrants arrive in the US seeking peace and a chance for a better future. Newcomer youth are one of the most vulnerable populations in the seven US cities where SWB programs operate. Not only are these youth navigating a new culture and language, their often-traumatic backgrounds create significant barriers to traditional models of academic and social “success.” The difficulty of integration is compounded by many unfortunate social realities that exist in the communities where SWB programs operate. The combination of poverty, urban violence, and cultural isolation lead many newcomer to youth to feel hopeless, with a National school drop-out rate of more than 40%. SWB International focuses on engaging populations that are traditionally excluded or marginalized, with a particular emphasis on engaging girls.

Direct beneficiaries per year:


Geographic areas served:

USA: Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Greeley, CO; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Oakland, CAI nternational: Granada, Nicaragua; Kampala, UgandaPast Programs in: Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, South Africa, Zambia


USA: Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Greeley, CO; Oakland, CA International: Granada, Nicaragua; Kampala, Uganda Past Programs in: Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, South Africa, Zambia, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Soccer Without Borders

Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

No words can describe how incredible this experience has been. I will hopefully continue to be a part of this amazing program because it carries so much greatness. Not only do you become a part of a program that gives hope, attention, love, etc. to young girls but those young girls also give you all those things and more. I am so thankful I found Soccer Without Borders.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Going into this program I had no idea what to expect, but when I arrived in Granada I soon realized that my one week stay was going to be better than I had ever hoped. The love the girls had for the program was like nothing I had ever seen before and it was easy to tell how much Soccer Without Borders meant to them. All of the staff and girls welcomed me with open arms and the dedication of the staff was amazing. My experience with SWB opened my eyes and when I arrived back in the U.S. after only one week with the organization, I felt like a completely changed person. I cannot think of the past summer without reminiscing of this amazing experience.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Soccer Without Borders is an incredible charity that benefits anyone who comes in contact with the organization. Soccer has the power to bring people of all backgrounds together. Soccer Without Borders is a well organized program. In Nicaragua, the head directors and coaches are very passionate about the program and work extremely hard to make sure all the girls have everything they need. As a volunteer, I was able to learn more about the Nicaraguan culture and experience the girls passion to play. It was an incredible experience and I recommend getting involved with this charity in any way possible.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I happened to stumble upon a Soccer Without Borders application when a teammate told me that she had applied in the previous month. I applied for the program not knowing that this program would lead to an experience that would have a lasting impact on my life. I embarked on my first international journey and I am so happy that it was to Granada, Nicaragua. The hidden beauty in the houses, streets, culture, and people there have stole my heart and make me want to go back very soon. After returning to the states, that was when I realized how many girls I inspired on my trip. I would recommend Soccer Without Borders to everyone and anyone.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  


I have been volunteering for Soccer Without Borders for about 2 years as a coach now and have coached various age groups and teams. I started with the elementary school program, then coached the U14 girls and am now coaching the U12 boys.

Throughout my time coaching I noticed how this program is really making a difference in East Boston. The kids are becoming more integrated, engaged, and confident. Not only on the field but also off the field.

The Boston office is run by a group of awesome, organized, and enthusiastic people who have become dear friends of mine. Volunteers are being well prepared for the coaching seasons and regular feedback and brainstorming sessions help improve the experience.

Coaching kids is both challenging and incredibly rewarding. You learn a lot, not only about the kids but also about yourself. I can only recommend to anyone who has even the slightest interest in soccer to volunteer for such a great organization like Soccer Without Borders!


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Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered at SWB Kampala, Uganda two times in January 2014 and January 2015. Regarding the Kampala program, I have been very impressed with the staff members' commitment, interest in the children, and the immense value they bring to the community. Here in the U.S., the staff members have been top-notch with regards to preparing volunteers, coordinating travel logistics, and being available to answer questions. I continue to assist SWB in a few ways and I think the work the group is doing to help children in the U.S. is extraordinary.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Soccer Without Borders provides a welcoming and friendly environment for kids who are navigating very new surroundings. Through soccer, there is not only the opportunity to learn new skills, get outside and be active but also to make new friends and create community with students from all different backgrounds. The staff and coaches encourage their teams on the field as well as off, and are sources of support throughout the school year. It's been a privilege to be a volunteer coach, and is truly a highlight of my week.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was a long-term volunteer for SWB in Granada, Nicaragua, a few years ago, and it was one of the most formative experiences of my life so far. I felt welcomed from the first day of orientation, and I felt the support and passion of everyone throughout my experience. The staff and coaches in Nicaragua are fantastic, funny, and highly committed people as well. I feel like I made relationships that will last, and I can always reach out for advice or just to say hello.

SWB has done an amazing job of creating a safe community in the spaces where it works, always willing to listen to new ideas and evaluate performances with the goal of constantly improving. I really appreciated this iterative process and how they're always striving to do what's in the best interest of the communities served. The level of commitment is high.

Since returning from my role, I've received a ton of support and encouragement from the staff. They have been incredibly helpful in a number of ways, and I have been able to collaborate with them in different capacities over time as well. In many ways, I feel extremely grateful to have worked with SWB and to continue the relationship today.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had the opportunity to volunteer with Soccer Without Borders both in Boston, MA and Granada, Nicaragua. While each site is unique, they are united by the passion of those who work there and the time and energy that they put in to being a part of the local communities.

In Nicaragua, the program does an amazing job of bringing together community members, local staff, long-term American interns, and short-term volunteers to work with the girls of the program. While this can be a challenging balancing act, the organization puts significant thought into each trip to ensure that volunteers are both able to contribute to and learn from the program and its participants. Each time I return, I am more impressed with how the program has developed and grateful for the relationships that I have been able to form during my time there.

The East Boston site has already become a great space for the youth, and somewhere that I know will be fun every time I volunteer. They do a great job of combining big one-day events with ongoing programming, focusing on both their "teams" and continued outreach. SWB is already a valuable resource for youth in its communities, but one of the best parts is that they continue to think about how they can be even better.

Would you volunteer for this group again?


For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?


When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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Rating: 5 stars  

I went on a trip with Soccer Without Borders to Granada, Nicaragua the summer before my senior year in high school. It was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Working with underprivileged girls in the area, and watching them build confidence through soccer was inspiring to be a part of. Even when not officially working with the girls, we would play soccer and tag with the kids in the barrio we were staying in (in homestays), and this is when I formed some of the strongest relationships with the kids that I will always remember and value, and this helped me gain a better understanding of their culture. I learned so much from the coaches and girls in Soccer Without Borders, and I think this is what makes the program so special: it emphasizes a cultural exchange in which both the volunteers and the participants learn from each other in a mutual relationship. Soccer Without Borders is definitely a valuable and noteworthy program that provides so much hope and opportunity to under-served youth.

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