Street Soccer UVA works with the University of Virginia, the Hope Community Center, and the Salvation Army in Charlottesville, VA. Homelessness is not just a big city phenomena and nor is Street Soccer. Trigg Brown, a sophomore, details some notes from practice, pointing out how sports helps students and players bridge divides.
Darryl had work so he wouldn't be coming to practice last Tuesday night. Kyle, Andrew and I were bummed out because this and sort of nervous because practice is always in danger of missing players. After convincing two guys, Justin and James, to come play with us, we were hopeful. Will didn't answer his brother's door, but he would come if he could, so we understood. Will's situation with his brother is shaky, unstable, and anything but consistent. We were happy to play with two guys, but when we pulled the big old van into the Hope Community Center parking lot, players Will and Josh were waiting there for us with students Walker, Karter, Pen and Will. Game on. After passing around for a few minutes, we circled up and took turns calling stretches. We ran a lap, with the ball of course, and then commenced play on the verdant grass carpet of the city park, subtly tucked away behind the monumental student apartments lining Wertland and 14th St. Their architecture sets up a barrier between University and its impoverished community neighbor. Will has a sneaky style, that reflects the old-school way he hooks shots in a game of hoops. James is a great athlete, and executes decisively. Justin just loves to play. And Josh can smack the ball from goal all the way through the window of those isometric student apartments that ironically provide shelter for our small, quiet, play. There's an awkward air about practice because none of us really know what we're doing playing together, but that feeling -- playing together-- is a good one. It drove practice into the dark. We milked our minutes until eight thirty so we could get James and Justin back to the Salvation Army before curfew. It was a good practice. We're going to have a good team