For the past several years, the Gettysburg College men’s soccer team has partnered with Soccer Without Borders (SWB), an organization that assists refugees in transitioning to life in America.
Founded in 2006, SWB has served youth from more than 75 nations worldwide with head coach Mark Mettrick‘s involvement with the organization starting 10 years ago. Playing soccer and serving as positive role models to the young boys and girls making the transition to America is an opportunity that sparked an interest to Mettrick.
“I wanted to do something that would help the young boys and girls ease into the transition by having a good day out playing soccer,” said Mettrick. “To also have some mentors from the College so the kids in the program can connect, look up to our players, and be encouraged to pursue their education and earn a degree. I think it’s positive all-around to help young people and families adjust to living in America.”
Since 2014, the Bullets men’s soccer team has assisted in running clinics at both Vanguard Collegiate Middle School and on Clark Field. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bullets were unable to hold a clinic this past spring but participated in two clinics with SWB in 2018-19 – one in Gettysburg and the other at Vanguard.
Between both clinics, the Bullets met with approximately 140 middle- and high-school-aged boys and girls and engaged in drills, scrimmages, and conversations. The day ended with members of the men’s soccer team holding a question and answer session that revolved around Gettysburg College, the college application process, and key differences between high school and college. Both clinics included high school players from Sudan, Eritrea, Congo, Nepal, Iraq, Tanzania, and Syria.
“We feel very fortunate to be able to support Soccer Without Borders in its quest to help young people transition to life in America,” said senior men’s soccer captain Sam Lerman. “It’s great that we can unite around soccer and connect with these young children.”
In conjunction with their activities over the years, the Bullets have raised thousands of dollars for SWB.
SWB’s stated mission is “to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.” SWB provides academic and language development support, high school and college preparation, as well as a number of workshops on nutrition, wellness, mindfulness, healthy relationships, and numerous other topics.
For more information on Soccer Without Borders, click here.
This story was originally posted on the Gettysburg College Website.