Ben Gucciardi, the Founder of Soccer Without Borders, was honored as a White House Champion of Change for World Refugee Day 2015. An award that reflects Ben’s unique expertise in the field of refugee integration and youth development, his work at the city, national, and global levels has been recognized and replicated. Ben’s career began with his master’s degree in Global Educational Leadership from Lehigh University in 2006, the same year that he launched Soccer Without Borders. Spending his undergraduate years at Lehigh as well, Ben captained the nationally-ranked NCAA Division 1 Lehigh men’s soccer team. Ben went on to play semi-professional soccer with the San Francisco Seals while developing his skills as a coach and growing SWB in Oakland and around the world. In 2014, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America honored Ben with the Jerry Yeagley Award for Personal Service. In addition to his experience on the field, Ben has worked extensively in the fields of coaching and youth development, acting as the Girls' Sports Coordinator and Coaching Coordinator at the Jamestown Community Center in the Mission District of San Francisco. He has studied conflict resolution, interactive theatre, team building, and methods of teaching mindfulness practices to youth. Ben has coached youth ages 5-21 at a variety of skill levels and is currently a Head Coach within SWB Oakland.
Ben has consulted for leading sports-based youth-development organizations in the U.S., Europe, Zambia, and South Africa. He has been a featured presenter at SOCAP, the Urban Soccer Symposium, the Borah Symposium, and the Beyond Sport Summit, among other local events. Ben serves on the Advisory Board for the Baker Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity at Lehigh in Bethlehem, PA. He is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese in addition to knowing basic French, and resides in Berkeley, CA. In addition to his responsibilities with SWB, Ben is an award winning poet.