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."

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