Just how far can the sport of soccer take you?
Well, Burlingame’s Nia Morgan is very close to hopping on an airplane and finding out.
In less than a month, Morgan will pack her bags and head approximately 3,500 miles south to Granada, Nicaragua in Central America as part of the Soccer Without Borders program.
"I’m more excited than anything else,” Morgan said. "My father told me about the program and I’ve been playing soccer since I was very young. It just felt like a great way of combining my love for soccer and the Spanish language culture.”
Morgan’s father, Art, said the idea to head to Nicaragua was conceived during a visit to watch the now-gone FC Gold Pride of the Women’s Professional Soccer league. It was there that Soccer Without Borders had a booth and after emailing back and forth with the organization, Nia Morgan decided this was something she had to do.
Soccer Without Borders is a non-profit group that runs community-led, year-round, youth development programs in under-served areas in the U.S. and abroad.
According to its website, they provide programming to youth who are traditionally excluded from sports-based and extracurricular activities while providing participants with an avenue for positive engagement, a platform for personal growth and a toolkit for a brighter future.
Borders currently operates four core programs, four seasonal programs and 12 camps in six countries including El Salvador, Guatemala and Egypt.
Morgan will join 14 other girls on the trip to Nicaragua where they’ll focus on boosting the self confidence of young girls and helping them succeed in the workplace and in life.
But before Morgan takes off to Central America, she’s hoping to bring some extra local support along with her.
Morgan, a two-year varsity player for the Panthers, is hosting a soccer clinic for girls ages 8 to 14 in hopes of raising money to take with her to Nicaragua. The incoming-junior has already raised $500 for SWB and is hoping to up that figure.
"I’ve already raised some money by contacting friends and family,” Morgan said. "But the clinic is about more than just the money. It’s about bringing awareness for [Soccer Without Borders].
"I like volunteering and I coached an under-10 soccer team last year and really liked working with younger girls by teaching them soccer.”
Morgan said the clinic will help young soccer players build self-confidence, gain valuable soccer skills and prepare for their fall soccer season. Clinic instructors include CYSA coach of the San Mateo Mania Scott Fitch and women's high school players from around the Bay Area.
There is a $20 donation to Soccer Without Borders required with the clinic that takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Burlingame High School soccer stadium.
Morgan takes off to Nicaragua in late July and the initial nervousness of being in a foreign country has been replaced with excitement for the experience.
"I’m just looking forward to learning,” Morgan said. "Working with new people, the learning experience, the travel, the language and the soccer.”
For more information, visit http://www.razoo.com/story/Burlingame-Soccer-Clinic