Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thanks US Soccer Foundation! A Home Field at Last

We started out several years ago wearing red pennies as uniforms. Some of the players wore jeans to practice. I'll never forget a goal scored by Casey Williams wearing his steel toed work boots. We've come along way since then in so many ways.

We built our first home field in collaboration with our arts program and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Architecture Department. That was great, but it still wasn't regulation and we couldn't host a US Cup on it.

Thanks to the US Soccer Foundation and it's friendly partners Sport Court and on this project, Athletica, plus contributions from the KICKINGIT producers we've created the soccer court built to Homeless World Cup specs in the US . . . and it's beautiful.

We put it together inside Covenant Presbyterian's gym in Charlotte to get everything in order ahead of the big date.

We have gotten our logistic down. The walled system can go up in fewer than 45 minutes. We proved that on visits to HELP USA in New York and the Daily Planet in Richmond, VA. That adventure deserves it's own post. It involved me, Craig, a former Homeless World Cup player and the American subject of KICKINGIT documentary, Coach Rob, and Arcady, the organizer of the Russian street soccer music ( he's also in KICKINGIT). We were crammed in a 26 ft truck with no radio and governor on 60 miles an hour. As I said, it deserves it's own post.

The flooring under Sport Court expert Joel's supevision took two hours as long to install with five of our athletes helping out. We hope to cut that installation time in the next go around.

The bottom line is that we have an incredible, portable facility that can be shared with other cities and which can train our national team.

In the words of 2005 Homeless World Cup Team member Ray Isaac, "It just keeps getting realer and realer."

The Leonsis Foundation

As you may know, KICKINGIT is the remarkable documentary film crafted by Susan Kock and her team and produced by Ted Leonsis Films in accordance with Ted Leonsis's concept of filmanthropy, which is widely written about on the web and applies to both of Ted's films, Nanking and KICKINGIT. You should read Ted's blog, Ted's take. Link here.

Believe what you read: while not only using the film to catalyze interest in the problem of homelessness and to empower organizations like the Homeless World Cup, Ted has underwritten the Homeless USA Cup through he and his wife Lynn's foundation. All this in on top of taking a personal interest in the lives of the players in the film.

Thank you for making this tournament, this bright spot in lives of so many who are down and out, a reality!

Countdown to DC 08 Begins

Homeless USA Cup June 27-29
To Volunteer email

A year ago at the Urban Ministry Center we hosted a conference that was the first step in taking Street Soccer 945 national. Beside launching Street Soccer USA, the conference brought in representatives from 9 cities that wanted to use the soccer as tool to change lives and change attitudes about homelessness in their own community.

Now Street Soccer USA is hosting 11 cities in the nation's capital at the Homeless USA Cup. Local partners in DC, Street Sense and the National Coalition for the Homeless, were part of that original organizing conference and have been working since that date to put on the Homeless USA Cup.

Our sponsors include The Leonsis Foundation, Nike's Let Me Play, Wachovia, US Soccer Foundation, among others.

Participating cities include:

Charlotte NC, Urban Ministry Center's Street Soccer 945
Atlanta, GA, Task Force for the Homeless
Richmond, VA, The Daily Planet
Los Angeles, CA, Jovenes, Inc.
San Francisco, CA, Spitfire Soccer Academy
Minneapolis, MN, Youth Link
St, Louis, MO, Peter and Paul Community Services
Austin, TX, Life Works
Ann Arbor, MI, SSPORT
Washington, DC, National Coalition For the Homeless

Three day tournament will include inspirational speakers, soccer demos, LA GALAXY vs. DC UNITED, and most importantly scores of exciting 4vs4 soccer action for all to enjoy free of charge.

The tournament will also serve as a means for selecting our national team which will participate in the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne this December.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Atlanta Task Force prepare for USA CUP 2008

Last year Boubacar Sarr spent two weeks with the 2007 US National Team for the Homeless World Cup. Since then he has gone back to Atlanta and revitalized the street soccer team at the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. He is now in the final stages of preparing his Atlanta Street Soccer Team for USA CUP 2008. He reports that they have been training regularly and are close to ready for the trip to DC. The Atlanta Team was recently outfitted with gear from the US Soccer Foundation's Passback program and also had 'ATLANTA' t-shirt printed by volunteers. We look forward to seeing them in action in June.