Saturday, April 28, 2007

two in a row

Street Soccer 945 Newsletter 4-27-07

Richard (pictured here), Scott, and Rollon are members of Homeless Helping Homeless, a self-advocacy group faciliated by Liz Clasen at the Urban Ministry Center. Although we normally don’t take girlfriends or casual spectators etc. to games with the team, the coaches and the players were more than willing to make an exception and an extra squeeze to make room for these gentleman who everyone recognizes for having worked hard on behalf of the homeless community while themselves struggling with the affliction of being homeless.

Richard, the most vocal of the group, has a vioce like loose gravel, a handsome, weathered face, and the pure white hair of wisdom if not innocence. His body has been disabled but certainly not his spirit or wit. Although our squad featured one member in Mohammed Osman that approaches Richard’s age, most of our players clash with Richard on a generational and a cultural level. For this reason, Richard has been a vocal skeptic of what he styled our “street gang.” On Wednesday we transormed him into an ardent advocate of our “great soccer team” as Richard himself put it.

We transformed Richard through our hustle , earning a narrow 3-2 victory. Young Dave McGregor scored all three goals (picuted here between michael and amil). Notable performers were Pop Miller whose work on the track with Coach Rob showed marked improvement in his agressivemess and willingness to take the ball into space, and also, Mohammed Osman, whose stamina increases every match; Mohammed showed quick moves and smart play in the center of the field.

Although we dominated the game early, we only had a single goal to show for it; our frustration became apparent. Subsitute Honduran standouts Elmer and Jorge played skillfully but let their urgency take them out of position. As a result we relied on some good goal keeping to keep us in the lead at the half. In the second half our opponents stepped up their intensity and what looked like an inevitable victory turned into a dogfight. We attacked well but missed opporunties again and again. A nice give and go beat our defense and we had to rely on an idividual effort from Dave McGregor to pull us a head for a second time. A spinning rebound then fooled our keeper and he batted the ball in our own goal to bring the score level again. Finally the hustle of Michale McGregor and Amil Livingston led to a penalty call against our opponent. Dave converted his third goal from the spot to give us the lead for good in our 3-2 victory.

Coach Cann took some team members back to the track on Friday for a two-mile run test. The team worked out in new practice gear donated by the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association. Street Soccer Veteran and former national team member Ray Isaac gave a presentation to the NCYSA on Thursday about penetrating the inner city with the sport of soccer and he and Coach Rob brainstormed with NCYSA leadership about involving more youth in homeless soccer programming.

As the season gears up and national team traingin begins, Street Soccer 945 seems poised to seize the moment. Thanks for reading.

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