Friday, May 29, 2009

Introducing Street Soccer D.C.

Street Soccer D.C. (known as the D.C. Knights) has been hosting practices for the last three weeks. The club is made up of players associated with Neighbors Consejo, which offers solutions to ensure that services and programs are available to the Hipanic/Latino individuals and families in Washington, D.C. Specifically, Neighbors Consejo offers substance abuse treatment, and transitional housing.

In addition, the National Coalition for the Homeless and Street Sense D.C. are both integral partners in recruitment, management and awareness of the Street Soccer D.C. team, as well as Street Soccer USA overall.

The team practices every Wednesday from 5:30pm - 7pm at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Washington, D.C. The team is Coached by Dan, Chris and Spencer Helfrich, and Chris Parkinson.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blue Bombers are #1

Pictured above is a group of 3rd graders called "The Blue Bombers," a soccer team fromin Takoma Park, MD
The team has been together since the boys were in kindergarten - the
fall of 2005. Also pictured is their coach from the beginning,Trevor
Alleyne. In the words of the parents, Trevor is, " a wonderful coach and leader."

The Blue Bomber collected $160 for Street Soccer USA and became the first soccer team in the nation to collect money for the homeless. We salute our brothers and sisters in the beautiful game, The Blue Bombers. Soccer teaches many lessons, and helps with our personal development. Most of all, it helps point to our common humanity. Thank you, bombers for helping others access the power of the beautiful game to change their lives.

You are the first team in the country to a Street Soccer USA, Soccer For Social Change thumbs up! If you can make it to DC in July, we'd love to recognize you at our annual Street Soccer USA Cup, July 31-August 2nd at Washington Kastles Stadium in downtown, DC. Keep in touch!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CALLE / Street Soccer USA


Street Soccer USA and CALLE to create sellable street art.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 19, 2009 - Street Soccer USA and CALLE have announced a partnership to create limited edition pieces of street art available to the public. Street Soccer USA, a non-profit organization that empowers the homeless and impoverished youth and adults to improve their lives through sports are using the program to create revenues for the upcoming Street Soccer USA Cup (July 31 – August 2) in Washington, D.C. CALLE is a street wear brand with a unique niche in street soccer based in Los Angeles . . .
The street art will initially be available on tee shirts but there are plans to expand to headwear and other accessories as part of the SSUSA line and as the partnership strengthens and the demand so dictates. The co-op is supported by Shep Messing, CEO of Global Sport Group and active advisory board member for CALLE. “It is very exciting when two great organizations, CALLE and Street Soccer USA, with a vision to help the less fortunate unite in their strengths and create something unique to the market” said Messing. Messing joined the CALLE board earlier this year with the noblest of reasons. “To find those kids on the street, give them hope that they one day might become a Ronaldinho or a Messi, and then to represent them into the professional ranks is where I hope to add value to the movement. It’s one of the most exciting boards that I belong to and I am so excited for these young guys and their vision. I support it 110%”
link to attached document for full release.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Street Soccer Stars in Charlotte put together impressive season, fall short in semifinals of local league play

Our team of Street Soccer 945 program graduates, the "Street Soccer Stars" we call them, had an amazing season in the newly formed Revolution Athletics Soccer League in Charlotte. This group is great because they serve as inspiration for our players on the 945 Team and also because I, most of time, can pick up spectators at the Urban Ministry Center and then meet the team at the game. Elmer, Dave and Michael and Tim drive themselves to the game in their own cars. Wow, they have come so far!

We started out the season 0-3. The team then rebounded and won 7 games in row. We entered the playoffs as the #6 seed and faced off against the #3 seed Wings Select. Craig Holley, star of the Sundance documentary Kicking It, played his best game of the season at marking back. Craig had the job of marking our opponent's best forward, a strong and physical player with a cannon shot on both legs and a spin move that had weakened the legs of many defenders. Craig held him up and did not stab in, only when the opponent turned and showed Craig the ball did he step in and make a tackle. Time and time again Craig held him up, won the ball and released it to our triumvirate of attackers who on this night looked like Brazilians passing back and fourth, slotting in easy goals. This seemed a little too easy so Mike McGregor, Homeless World Cup 2007 team member, bicycled in our 5th goal and we were able to hold of a late surge by the Wings and advance to the semifinals by a score of 7-3.

The semifinals took place just 30 minutes after our quarterfinal victory and we started the game on our heels taking shot after shot which Craig, volunteer Curtis Gardner and Keeper Tim Cummins (HWC '08) were able to deflect. We were able to keep them out of the net while we re-organized and got into our game. This was a beautiful game. Both teams fought hard and played fair. The score was 1-1 with five minutes left. Elmer Nunez (Homeless World Cup 07) confronted an attacking player in the middle of the field and what sounded like an explosion was a ball-to-foot contact in which Elmer won the ball for a one on zero breakaway with the keeper. On this bouncy, dirt patched field, Elmer could not collect the ball where he wanted it and sprayed a shot wide of the goal. We were in shock. The next possession in what appeared to be another defensive stand for us quickly turned into a moment of chaos as the ball was turned back over and a free man at the back post put it past Tim in the only spot open...the roof of the net. We did not go down without a fight. Dave McGregor, HWC 2006, slipped through defenders and found himself a small opening in which he took a toe-poke shot that clanged the post and went out. We took our final push and earned a corner. The ball was played low and hard into the penalty area and bodies banged together and a deflection shot pinged right for the goal but only the keeper blocked it and fell on it. He was on top of the line and we appealed for a goal but it was not in. Our winning streak was over. The excitement now is that we are consistently going toe-to-toe with some of Charlotte's best amateur players. Pictured here is part of the team. Front row, SS-945 Team support Ebony, Coach Rob, Nori. Second Row Michael McGregor, Miguel, Elvis, Dave McGregor, volunteer Curtis. Not pictured Elmer Nunez, Craig Holley and Tim Cummins. The Stars will start vying for that first elusive title again next week when the league re-starts. Street Soccer 945, the team that will represent Charlotte at the Street Soccer USA Cup this summer, will start league play this Wednesday, May 20th. Please check back for complete game schedules. Thanks for your support.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

NYC comeback, Goals3,4,5,6

SSNYC, fresh off back to back victories, was beginning to think this soccer thing was easy. Word has spread of their talent, and this time the opponent was prepared. SSNYC fell behind 9-0 before getting their first goal. The second half was another story. Resilience is a quality that people who struggle with homelessness need to exhibit everyday. SSNYC was apparently well practiced. Some of the goals above are part of their comeback. From 13-3, SSNYC came back to finish the game 15-13. It was no easy comeback either and if it were not from the star heroics of the opposing goalie, SSNYC certainly would have deserved victory. Enjoy the Dexter and Jarvis show of goals here

Street Soccer Chicago gets Playoff Birth

Street Soccer Chicago had 35 fans on hand in their final game, a tough loss to end their, in fact, triumphant first season. Or did it? They found out they in fact qualified as the wild card team and will play in the first round of the playoffs next Thursday. SSCHI has captured the the public's hearts and the players' potential, three quarters of the players having moved into jobs or housing since they first started the program in September. Good luck next week!

Just for kicks . . .

Review of NYTimes Sunday Front Page . . . go team

Friday, May 15, 2009

Goal 2

Enjoy this goal by Street Soccer NYC's Dexter Barnett.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

SSUSA part of Kasltes' Championship Season

Lawrence Cann (3rd to the right of the World Team Tennis Trophy) Street Soccer CEO and Founder, was on hand with Mayor Fenty of Washington DC, DC Councilman Jack Evans, DC Sports and Entertainment Commission CEO Erik Moses, Great Washington Sports Alliance president Robert Sweeney, and Washington Kastles World team tennis coach Murhpy Jensen, Thursday as the Kastles announced they will host the World Team Tennis Championships on their home court.

Mark Ein, venture capitalist and philanthropist, also announced that the Street Soccer USA Cup and trials for the Homeless World Cup will take place in the same 3,000 person center city stadium July 31st-August 2nd. Mark has brought the community in DC together through the sport of tennis, and his support of Street Soccer USA shows his concern far beyond his own backyard, providing our team of people battling homelessness the chance to play in a first class sporting arena. Our hats are off to Mr. Ein.

Please link to to learn more about the cup and how to volunteer, and how to come cheer at this free event for the whole family.

Street Soccer NYC Images: in route. Next Tues. Game-9pm

Check out some images from Street Soccer NYC, Dex on the subway, Jarvis in uni and out, Ray, Charles, and our team walking to the game in the rain.
Next match is Tuesday at Cheslea Piers, 9pm

SSUSA visits St. Alban's

At the invitation of Hart Roper, Dean of Admissions at St. Alban's, Will Mazzuto of Street Soccer USA and I traveled to this beautiful boy's preparatory school nestled on a breezy hillside behind the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

Hart Roper, besides being a dedicator educator, husband, and father of two baby girls, has been my soccer buddy as long as I can remember. We played together on the club level, reaching the final four in the nation as U-17's and were both recruited to play at Davidson. In fact I probably would not have made it very far in soccer at all if Hart's mom hadn't given me rides to so many games, tournaments, and practices. So my soccer life has been synonymous with Hart's. He even came to Charlotte and trained with our 2007 Homeless World Cup team before they went abroad a couple year's ago. St Alban's is lucky to have such a good man working in support of their students, not to mention coaching their varsity soccer team.

In the words of the school's website St. Alban's creates "an intimate community that thrives on close relationships between faculty and students, on daily family style lunches, on a challenging yet caring environment." I was struck when I read that because it is very similar to what we try to do for our street soccer players, just substitute soccer practices for "daily style lunches."

I was also struck while attending such a lunch at how the school provided structure and support. In describing the upcoming field day, one teacher told the students what to wear, where to be, when to be their, how to act while there, as well as how not to act. This type of instruction and guidance is exactly what most of our players have lacked, growing up in poverty, changing schools, changing families, etc.

When I gave a presentation to the middle school students I tried to contrast what I had seen at the lunch with the lives of many of our participants. The students were very impressive. They spoke up, responded, asked questions, and genuinely engaged in the question, "what would it be like for me to be homeless."

In the end several of the students came up afterward offering to volunteer at our cup and we set up a tentative challenge match for our July 31st Street Soccer USA Cup tournament against St. Alban's. We hope to see many of the students, faculty, and parents at the matches representing the school, sharing their impressive community with our players by supporting them as fans. We look forward to recognizing the group on the PA. Perhaps they will win the top fan group award at the cup. Who is going to challenge them?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NYC Strikes Again. 8-7 victory; #6 most emailed . . .

On the same day that Street Soccer NYC ranked #6 on the NYTimes most emailed stories list,
Street Soccer NYC quietly moved out of 6th place and into tie for 3rd in the Chelsea Piers league.
MVP of the match was Andres Negron, a native of Brooklyn whose first love was baseball. Andres
loves all sports, he says. He made some key saves in Both haves that kept SSNYC in the match.
Dexter Barnett and Jarvis Strose again delivered the goals for SSNYC. Kourtney Talton also impressed in just his second game.

Next week's game: 9pm, field North at Chelsea Piers

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday New York Times Front Page

See the article and video online here

Thanks to the HELP USA board and staff, to the corps of amazing volunteers, and most of all to our courageous players, for taking the program so far and achieving such a strong impact in a short time.

Street Soccer NYC's schedule can be linked to here. You can also come back to this blog for the latest upcoming game posting and news about sports for social change through Street Soccer USA across the country.

And as long as Dexter is a star, here is his goal one more time from game # 2