Monday, July 6, 2009

WHO WE ARE: Contender #3- The Chicago Ice

One night Jason Holmes was sitting at home watching television when he turned on ESPN and saw the documentary, "Kicking It", which follows the journey of several players as they prepare for the 2006 Homeless World Cup in South Africa. Inspired by the film, Jason decided to bring the concept to Chicago. Despite no prior soccer experience, Jason eagerly took on the challenge as organizer and coach.

Under Jason's guidance the Chicago program has flourished on the field and more importantly, off the field. Since September, thirteen players have transitioned into permanent housing. The changes among Chicago players over the past months were so dramatic that it warranted a name change. Formerly the Chicago Inferno, the team decided to disassociate itself with a name that invoked uncontrolled chaos. Instead they now go by "the Ice" a name that mirrors the calmer, more stable lifestyles that they have adopted.

The team has finished league play for the year, but continues to hold scrimmages. Most recently they faced off against the Raptors of Shaumburg, IL. Both teams dedication and love of the game were seen when a match that was estimated to last only an hour went on for three.

While the Ice look forward to the Street Soccer USA Cup this summer, Jason and his volunteers have a larger goal in mind of continuing to expand the program in Chicago and using athletics to give participants confidence, dignity, and independence.

You can learn more about the Chicago program at their website Street Soccer Chicago.

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