Tuesday, July 31, 2007

US ties ireland 8-8, but go down on penalties, then beats India

Michael McGregor, pictured here, scored one of the goals of the tournament on a rare header goal, field in a long lob from Daniel Martinez and redirecting it into the ned. This gave the US its first lead 2-1 after going down early. The US proceeded to dominate the match, leading 6-4 at half, giving up a goal at the final buzzer. That goal would haunt the Americans when a late equalizer gave the Irish a tie. The Irish subsequently advanced after the first round of sudden death penalities.

For the US, the match showed the crowd the true caliber of our team, but the result was disappointing. Nevertheless, the team has been in good spirits. Last night on their own initiative they all went out on a midnight bike ride together on the free urban bike progam here in Copenhagen. Congrats to our boys despite the tought loss.

Monday, July 30, 2007

USA beats Slovakia!

Our first victory had everything you love about sports in it. With Dave out due to injury we moved Reggie into the net and put Daniel into the field where he made immediate impact scoring the first goal. Then, moments later he recieved a blue card once again early in the game for a call that seemed like it could have gone either way. We preach fair play before every match, and our players, many of whom came to us with anger issues, were put the test once again. We stayed composed and kept Slovakia off the scoreboard even playing a man down. Reggie made several tremendous saves including two penalty kicks. Pop had to step in after Daniel's card and delivered an incredibel performance in a new position in a hard fought match. In the end our discipline wore them down. We poured on several goals in the second half and won 6-1. Here is the picture after the game of the guys in high spirits.

The first game was rough. We ask our players to observe fair play at all times. When Michael McGregor slipped he tried avoid the opposing player, but inexplicably recieved a blue a card and had to leave the field. Shortly there after, Dave, Michael brother, suffered a bruised knee after a rough tackle. Here is a picture of the brothers in the training tent after the match. Spirits were low after the match, but we were proud of our team for maintaining their sportsmanship in match that infuriated them more with every passing minute. Congrats to Burundi who shrugged off visa problems to surpass us 4-2.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Match Day One

We played the runner up in last year's World Cup, a tough Kazahkastan in the first match. Reggie Jones scored first for the USA, but after two own goals we lost our nerve and tried to scramble back rather than stick to our disciplined defense and offensive strategy. The game ended 10-3 after Michael and Reggie added the 2nd and 3rd goals of the tournament. We learned a lot from Kazahkastan and the guys can't wait to get back out there for our 4pm match with Burundi to day.

The USA was drawn in the last group with Kazahkastan, Burundi, and Slovakia. We marched through the streets of Copenhagen with 48 countries tou our first match, cheering and singing till we all lost our voices.

Motivational Speaker Kevin Caroll addressed all nations, telling them a ball changed his life and that a ball had changed their lives as well. He said they needed to keep following that ball whether it remained a soccer ball or became a metaphor for their next dream in life. With this forward looking attitude, the games began.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Arrival in Copenhagen

Dave and Rob sport the US Soccer Federation gear at the openning dinner as the reality of being in Europe set in for everyone. Pop said he felt like he was in a time capsule. He said he got up every hour last night and just had to walk down stairs and stick his head out the door to make sure it was really real. Michael Blackwell and Reginald Jones got up early and already saw the royal palace and the parliament. We are really proud of our group who is soaking up the experience. Our team meeting was very serious and focused. The team sett goals to exhibit great teamwork, return to the us with dignity, show sportsmanship, and to win the whole dern tournament.

The team makes their way to the openning night dinner!

Daniel Martinez, our team captain, has done everything right for the past 8 months. He's moved into a permanent job, moved out of the shelter, bought a car. He's also a mature postitive influence on other team members. He applied for his passport 3 months ahead of the trip. There was a strike in Honduras which delayed matters, and then we learned a week ago that even though Daniel presented a proper birth certificate and his expired passport, green card, and other supporting documents, the Honduran secretary of foreign relations wouldn't issue his passport. Daniel never had a father growing up, so his mother changed his name to remove his father's sir name. Back then, in Honduras, everything was hand written. When the system was computerized, the goverment failed to update his info and the new birth certificate number Daniel was using belonged to someone else in their system. After hours on the phone with embassy and secretary of consular affairs in honduras and with the help of some lawyers we were able to correct the situation at the last possible moment. We got the code to print Daniel passport the night before our departure. Daniel and I celebrated prematurely however, because the greatest challenge would be getting the passport to us in time to leave. I worked the phones all morning to get the proper people in touch with each other so that the passport could be printed early in the day, then arranged for a courier service to ship it from DC to Newark. Here is a photo of Daniel and myself picking up the passport 2 hours before our flight. We jumped up and down and hugged and had the airport worker shoot this celebration photo. Our hearts soared and now we would could relax and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

Before the trip we watched videos about Denmark, looked at maps of the world and Europe and then watched Gridirion Gang to pump us up.

Monday, July 23, 2007

US Cup and Conference 2007 PHOTOS!








Wednesday, July 18, 2007

US Cup and Conference 2007

US Cup and Organizing Conference 2007 starts thursday with National Team practice followed by a meet and greet of conference attendees at the Fox and Hound. The Conference is designed to launch Street Soccer USA, the national organizing body that will support the new programs starting up around the country. Programm graduates will share their experiences, corporate sponsors will speak, and community activists from the University of Nort Carolina will speak about designing succesful community projects.

The Conference Runs all day on friday from 9am -4pm (to attend call 704 926 0618 or 704 926 0633--also call if you want to register a team in the US for upcoming Cups and to be elegible to play in future Homeless World Cups).

Friday evening at 5pm there will be a rules demonstration followed by a Community Open Mic and cookout.

After a follow up session Saturday morning, Games begin at 1:30 at 945 N. College Street and last until 7pm.

Parking is available across the street at the Charlotte Area Fund on North Tryon.

Atttached is a conference schedule.conferenceinfo.doc

Trip to DC

The pictures above show Reggie and Pop in front of the Capital and DC Star Clyde Simms presenting the team with a signed shirt by all the DC United Players!

Also, Lawrence is pictured with 2006 DC rep to Capetown, Michael Knight.

And with Lawrence as well is Dave Tyahla from US Soccer foundation which has provided the team with Federation Equipment for the World Cup in Denmark.

Other pictures show Daniel Martinez, Boubacar of the Atlanta Taskforce, and Junior McGregor eating the great lunch provided by Street Sense Newspaper and the National Coaltion, our hosts in DC as well as members of the DC Squad and the national team at the DC United games as guests of US Soccer.