As we reflect on 50 years of Title IX, the game-changing law that unlocked unprecedented investment and opportunities for girls' sport to grow in the United States, we know that there is still so much progress to be made. Since 2008, Soccer Without Borders (SWB) Nicaragua has been breaking barriers for girls to access soccer and educational opportunities that unlock their potential and challenge them to dream big. Based in Granada, Nicaragua, a community where, 14 years ago, girls' sport was nonexistent, Soccer Without Borders has transformed what it means to "play like a girl."
Today, over 350 girls actively participate in the program, not only challenging stereotypes on the field, but also in the classroom and in their careers. Research that has emerged since the passing of Title IX shows the undeniable benefits of sport for girls, positively affecting their academic outcomes, body image, self-confidence, and more. In the absence of a similar law in Nicaragua, SWB has worked to build these opportunities from the ground up, advocating for field time, educating parents about the value of sport, and supporting girls to take ownership of their bodies and futures together as a team.
We are thrilled to share that the lessons we have learned and the tools we have developed over the last 14 years in Nicaragua have been deployed across Latin America through a program called "SOMOS Equidad". Since November 2021, SWB Nicaragua Co-Director César Morales and Head Coach Francisca Alvarez, together wtih Managing Director Lindsey Whitford, have been leading a cohort of organizations serving girls and boys across 18 communities throughout Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Peru, and Chile through a series of workshops, trainings, and activities to make their programs more gender equitable and get girls in the game. SOMOS Equidad, which translates to "We are Equity", not only seeks to empower girls on the pitch but also aims to break down societal mechanisms that contribute to gender inequalities at large. The project aims to empower over 3,000 youth from across Latin America by elevating the leadership of 18 coach captains and over 80 women coaches across these communities.
Advancing gender equality through soccer is a global effort that includes the most visible players (ie. Megan Rapinoe), the most transformative clubs (ie. Angel City FC), and the most vocal champions (ie. the US Women's National Team) AND the organizations and coaches and players on the ground, in communities across the world. We are proud to support this grassroot effort to live the legacy of Title IX and bring it to girls everywhere.