22 April 2016

After two successful KickApp Cups in Brazil and India, the event has made its way to the United States. From March 31 to April 2, 20 SAP developers welcomed 27 young refugees and immigrants to SAP’s Silicon Valley labs in California. The unparalleled hackathon gave young people from Soccer Without Borders the opportunity to share their stories and, together with the developers, collaborate on how technology could improve their lives both on and off the field. In the words of Sam Yen, Managing Director at SAP Labs Silicon Valley, “the KickApp Cup allowed us to take the skills that we have and the passion that a lot of people have for football and use that as a platform to give back to the community."


The first day brought together the participants, both young leaders and developers, for a full day of activities. 23 countries and 29 languages were represented in total. With a lot of work to do and only three short days, the group broke up into their designated teams to begin the ‘Design Thinking’ process. The young leaders from Soccer Without Borders shared the challenges they face as new immigrants to the United States. Hel Say, a young Soccer Without Borders’ coach, originally from Myanmar, reflected after the first day, "I am thinking about how I can help the girls I coach at Soccer Without Borders with an app. I never thought that technology could help me be a better coach or how it could help my girls."


After a full day of brainstorming, team building and sharing ideas, it was time to get on the pitch! The group came together on the field for football3: a different way to play football that promotes conflict resolution, fair play and gender equality. With the SAP Silicon Valley football team as special guests, the games were intense and bursting with enthusiasm.


The following two days were filled with innovative collaboration, both on the field and in the labs. The teams put their heads together and came up with unique solutions for the complex challenges young people face in urban cities worldwide. Some highlights include a visit to the Design Lab where participants tested the 3-D printer and got a sneak peak at SAP’s cutting edge technology. In addition, the group participated in a football for good session where players were able to express themselves on the pitch. One participant described football as his ‘breathing space’ and a safe haven in his new community.


The hackathon concluded with an interactive final presentation by all the teams for a three-person jury. The jury chose team ‘GOALden’, which designed an app that aims to promote the safety of young players and connect them to mentors. The KickApp Cup USA is an event that won’t be forgotten. As we say, it takes a team to win a game – and this hackathon brought together a diverse group of people, with varying backgrounds, interests, and talents. As Ravis Mubiangata from Soccer Without Borders’ said, “though we don’t speak the same language, we do speak soccer.”


Interested in learning more? Check out our video summary.

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