Sports Volunteering Projects Abroad

Coach sports to children around the world

Volunteering on a sports project on your gap year is not only great fun for you, but also a way to give something amazing back to people for whom sport is both a passion. For people in poorer communities, sport can also be a way out of the poverty into which they were born.

Sport is one of those wonderful things that transcends language, culture and geography. The love for it is something most humans have in common and it can bring together communities and create better societies. There are numerous opportunities the world over for anyone who wants to volunteer on a sports project, from coaching football in Ghana to teaching rugby in New Zealand.

There are numerous different types of sports projects to volunteer on during your gap year and they are spread across countries all over the world.

Top sports volunteering projects


Sports Coaching in Pokhara

from £775

14 days


Lead sports sessions in the mountainous city of Pokhara, working in local schools and at children's homes to promote wellbeing...

Coach and Play Sport in Ghana

from £250

7 - 84 days


Experience sport at all levels on this unique experience in West Africa and take your understanding of sport to new...

Coach Sport to Township Children

from £995

35 - 84 days

South Africa

Make a huge impact on our sports community coaching project and take away with you life-long friendships.

Volunteer Rugby Coach

from £1100

21 - 210 days

Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa...

Travel up to 9 countries in Africa while using sport to UNITE, EMPOWER and INSPIRE! Take rugby through Africa and...

Sports Coaching in South Africa

from £1239

35 - 84 days

South Africa

Help inspire some of South Africa’s poorest children in this heart-warming sports and childcare project. Coach your favourite sports and...

Sport and Education in Ghana

from £2500

90 - 360 days


Lattitude's sport programme in Ghana works in partnership with Football For Hope (FFH) which uses sport to help re-engage young...

Teach or Coach Sport in Brazil

from £995

14 - 4 days


Head to vibrant Brazil and volunteer at an exciting youth centre that helps over 9000 young people. Bring skill, passion...

Ultimate Cambodian Adventure

from £840.65

14 - 14 days

Sports Volunteering Volunteering on a sports project on your gap year is not only great fun for you, but also...

Best of Uzbekistan

from £845.1

Sports Volunteering Volunteering on a sports project on your gap year is not only great fun for you, but also...

Uzbekistan Discovered

Sports Volunteering Volunteering on a sports project on your gap year is not only great fun for you, but also...

Travel articles about volunteering abroad


What types of sports projects can I volunteer on?

The most popular options for gappers are projects involving football, rugby, athletics and hockey, though keep in mind there are others to choose from, including basketball, tennis, netball and cricket. Some projects are not themed on one specific sport, rather a mix of two or more disciplines.

Trying to work out which sports project is best for you can be a little confusing simply because there are so many to choose from. The easiest way to whittle down your options is to ask yourself which sports you have a natural inclination towards and which countries you would love to experience. Perhaps you’re a football fanatic and have always wanted to delve into the heart of India, in which case a project coaching football in Madurai could be for you.

The more passionate you are about your chosen sport and the more interest you have in a particular place, the more effective you will be as a volunteer.

Thinking of the bigger picture

Having said that, it’s important to keep in mind that working on a sports project is about so much more than simply teaching youngsters the basic rules of any particular game. You will become a mentor both on and off the field and lead by example. You will become a friend. Some of these kids live in appalling conditions with no one else to turn to, so you should be fully prepared to lend a shoulder to cry on now and again. Through your encouragement you can help these children develop lifelong skills and attitudes which can be applied far beyond one particular sport, such as the importance of working as a team and general self-belief.

Day-to-day life on a sports volunteering project

If you are coaching something like football or rugby, the chances are that the kids will already have some knowledge of how to play, so you’ll be involved with helping to organise games, refereeing matches and giving pointers on how to improve. You could also be in charge of putting together community tournaments where kids from different schools in the area play each other. If you’re involved with a lesser-known sport, like tennis, you could well end up teaching the kids how to play from scratch, which can be hugely rewarding for you as you watch them discover and develop a new passion.

On most sports projects your work will extend well beyond the field of play. You could have the opportunity to teach local kids English, not necessarily in a classroom setting but through general interaction, and you’ll almost certainly find yourself beginning to pick up the local language, too. You’ll probably be based in a homestay, which will allow you to become fully absorbed in the community, living just as the locals do, and you could end up making friends for life.

Football volunteering

Football projects abroad are hugely popular with gappers. This is the most popular sport in the world; it has a following in almost every country and the basics are very easy to pick up and teach. One of the great things about football is its simplicity – essentially all you need is a ball; the pitch and goal posts can be easily improvised – and this makes it an accessible sport to kids even in the poorest and most ill-equipped areas. You can find football projects in many different countries, including, Ecuador, Hungary, Brazil, Ghana and Australia, to name just a few.

Rugby volunteering

Although rugby doesn’t have the same worldwide following as football, there are still plenty of opportunities to coach it on your gap year. Projects can be found in countries like New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina. Similarly to football, rugby is a simple game to learn and doesn’t require specialised equipment, making it an accessible sport to impoverished communities. One of the great things about rugby is the absolute necessity for teamwork, which can have wider benefits in creating more cohesive societies in the long term.

Basketball volunteering

Another sport which is really catching on in developing countries is basketball, which has experienced a revival in popularity in recent years. These days emphasis is placed less on physical attributes (i.e. height) and more on nurturing players with other skills to offer, making it a much more inclusive sport. Like football and rugby, there is a strong emphasis on teamwork and a healthy channelling of aggression.

Racquet sports and athletics volunteering

These kinds of projects can include coaching hockey, cricket, tennis, and track and field activities, and although they are more dependent on community resources than the above, there are still plenty of projects available for you to work on. Volunteering on these projects could take you all over the world, from India to Ecuador to Argentina. Like all sports projects, there is an emphasis on developing individuals and teaching skills which can be applied both off and on the field, such as teamwork, fair play and self-discipline.

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