Tuesday, July 7, 2009

WHO WE ARE: Contender #4- Street Soccer CVL

Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Street Soccer CVL has been quite the experiment. The program began and developed differently than most other Street Soccer teams. The difference: Its organized by students.

The Charlottesville program began with Trigg Brown, a student at the University of Virginia. Trigg believed in the principles and possibilities of using small grass roots programs to engage and provide aid for the homeless population in Charlottesville. What started out as a fundraiser for the national program has evolved into a team of five to eight guys that consistently play soccer every week.

Before practice became officially scheduled into everyone's weekly agenda, Trigg and fellow volunteer Garrett Trent were determined to engage the problem of homelessness head on. The two ate breakfast and spent time with members of the Charlottesville homeless population at Hope CC's Day Haven Program. Breakfast was a time to develop relationships with people who are homeless, especially with those who also wanted to get active and play soccer.

The "coaches" are UVA students and community volunteers, ranging from Hope Community Center employees to students from Covenant High School. The program has been privileged to use one of the Hope Community Center vans, which makes play possible because the guys are scattered throughout different locations in Charlottesville.

In such a small population soccer is hard to sell. The team played basketball the entire first semester, occasionally kicking around, but second semester was much more promising. With the help of friends and the Hope Van, Street Soccer CVL conducted small 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 practices. After February, they started team stretching, drilling, running a lap before play, and conducting scrimmages with local players.

The team has really expanded everyone's social network. Now the team includes players from Southeast Asia, University Students, and people from the streets of C-ville. The atmosphere feels completely normal, fun, and inspiring! Students, volunteers, and players have really learned how sports, in this case soccer, can help us all.

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