Santa Barbara United

About Us

Santa Barbara United is a youth soccer organization made up of a representative cross section of 12–14 year old girls who excell in soccer, and their parents, from greater Santa Barbara, California. Operating under the AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) umbrella, our goal is to send a team or teams abroad each summer for a cultural exchange experience by participating in an international youth soccer tournament.

Our Mission

Our goal is to raise $50,000 to allow us to send a team of 15–16 players. The funds will cover the costs of air fair, ground transportation, food and lodging, tournament fees, uniforms, cultural excursions, and gifts to host families and players from other countries. Coaches, parents, and chaperones will all pay their own way.

Please read our funding letter or visit our fundraising page to learn more.

Message from the Team

Last year, the inaugural year of what we hope will become an ongoing opportunity, our experience abroad consisted of a one-week home stay with local families in Lillehammer, Norway, followed by a week-long participation in the Norway Cup — the largest of the international youth soccer tournaments. Even though most girls on the team were 11–12 playing in the 13–14 year age bracket, the team made it to the quarterfinals. If we take a team of 13 to 14 year olds we have a good chance of making it to the finals. The Norway Cup included 30,000 participants ages 13–19 from over 30 countries, comprising 1,500 teams. Santa Barbara United was one of only two teams from the United States.

Why a soccer team? Soccer is the most widely played sport in the world. No matter what city or village on the planet, there are always kids ready to play a friendly game of “football”. Soccer is its own language — a universal communication vehicle — by which thousands of kids from every continent on earth come together in various venues all over the world.

Whether participating at the high level playing style of teams from Kenya, China, or Norway, being hosted by Ambassador Benson Whitney at the American Embassy, or having the focus of International media in the first sanctioned sporting match between a U.S. team and a Vietnamese team (since the war ended over 30 years ago), the 2007 trip proved to be a positive, eye opening experience that will last a lifetime for everyone who participated.