Thursday, November 18, 2010

SSNYC Speaks at Ramapo

Yesterday, Street Soccer NYC went to Ramapo College of New Jersey to participate in their hunger and homelessness panel. Ramapo’s Community Service Center has been staging events all week to recognize National Hunger and Homelessness Week. The panel was organized and facilitated by Sarah Cipolli. The day started off with SSNYC players Marcus, Anthony, Donnie and Charlie going with SSNYC Director and Ramapo alumni, Will Mazzuto out to the Mahwah, NJ campus. The panel discussion was held in the Ramapo College Alumni Lounge with 150 students attending including the college’s Men’s Soccer team and Field Hockey team.

The members of SSNYC talked about their life experiences and what it is like to be homeless today in America, as well as what SSUSA means to them. They spoke about the issues they have to deal with on a daily basis and what the Ramapo students can do to help the homeless community in America. They expressed how community and being part of a team has given them direction and brought them some comfort in the tough times they are going through.

Ramapo College Field Hockey Coach Concetta Valerio said of the panel, “The event really opened the eyes of the students and faculty here at Ramapo. The members of SSNYC were such dynamic individual’s who have experienced so much. They told us so many things about their lives and shared a lot of personal stories with us. They showed us homeless people aren’t what we typically see on TV. It was a pleasure to have them here at Ramapo and we look forward to working with Street Soccer more in the future.”

Thank you to Sarah and the whole Ramapo community for giving our players the amazing platform to express themselves!

SSNYC and Ramapo's Community Service Center

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Listen to SSUSA International Ambassador Emmerson Boyce on SKY's SoccerAM Show

SSUSA International Ambassador Emmerson Boyce was on SKY's SoccerAM show on Saturday, November 6th. The link above is a clip from the interview.

Emmerson was invited to discuss how he was able to control the newly valued £50million left winger Gareth Bale as Wigan beat Tottenham 1-0. It's a fun interview and Emmerson, humble as ever, wouldn't even joke with the hosts about being better than Maicon, prefering to simply say : "I was just doing my job."

Support Emmerson, Support Wigan! He believes in SSUSA and he is a joy to watch play. Have a watch and have a good week!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Street Soccer USA Global Finalist at Beyond Sport Awards:

Chaired by Tony Blair and founded by Nick Keller, Beyond Sport hosts a global summit each year dedicated to exploring and bolstering the role of sport in social change. As the business of sport has developed enormously over recent decades, it is only now that we are beginning to realize the potential for sport as development tool for addressing the world's problems.

Street Soccer USA was featured among shortlisted project worldwide for the Beyond Sport Awards at the second annual Beyond Sport Summit in Chicago. Mayor Daley opened the summit and Olympian Michael Johnson, who actually visited our New York Street Soccer project in the Spring and kicked the ball around with our athletes, was on hand along with many other Beyond Sport Ambassadors, which included Senator Bill Bradley, Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan, Scott Blackmun, CEO of the US Olympic Committee, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, New Orlean Saints Owner Rita Benson Leblanc, NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, US Women's soccer great Julie Foudy, and many others.

The Summit allowed our organization to dialogue with other practitioners and academics from all over the world as well as corporate leaders and sports institutions interested in playing a role in using sport for social change.

Our inclusion in the summit as a highlighted project reflects on the efforts of all our passionate project leads and partner organizations throughout the United States and bodes well for the expansion of our role in combating homeless and poverty though the vehicle of sport. Please visit the Beyond Sport website www.beyondsport,org website and follow the progress of this organization as it opens it US branch and US specific summit next year in Denver Colorado.

Many thanks to volunteer, players, and supporters of Street Soccer USA, and a special thank you as well to the Beyond Sport Staff for incredible platform they have build for the work we are so passionately engaged in.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lady Salamanders Featured at Nike Photo Exhibit

Time Magazine's photography division got a group together to shoot sport for development photos. See the selection of Lady Salamanders Lisa and Jasmine below. This photo was taken at the exhibit in Rio.

USA finishes 20th and 11th,Brazil Wins Homeless World Cup--Women and Men,

Jaime of San Fran shoots on net in win over Luxembourg

Lady Salamanders celebrate win over India

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Teams Enter Trophy Rounds

The Lady Salamanders beat India and the Men's team beat Luxembourg. After the US dropped it's first game to Scotland, it was eliminated from the top prize competition. Tomorrow it squares off against Austria in the semi finals of the Dignity Cup.

The Lady Sals will play India again in their final match.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ESPN Features Lady Salamanders

Check out this article in ESPN highlighting the Lady Salamanders!

US fells Italy, contends for title

USA staid in contentionf or the Homeless World Cup with a victory of Itlay in Penalties. After that they took a lead at halftime against undefeated Poland, and came the closet of any team yet to defeat them. "We had them on the ropes," said Coach Acuna, "It was our game to win and that shows we can compete with anyone."

The Lady Salamanders lost on penalties to Uganda in a game where the US team showed their superiority, but failed to finish off the game. They face Norway today in a rematch of the first round.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lady Salamanders Round 2 competition

The Lady Sals play Uganda at 1:20 today. The rest of their group include:


Looking for victory number 2! Watch Leslie and Lisa secure the team's first victory yesterday in penalties:

Round 2 Group for Mens Team

USA will face Italy first and then Poland today. We will also get a chance to knock off our friends from Russia in Round 2 action. Top 2 teams in the group make the quarterfinals of HWC 2010.


see other groups at

Scotland were champs in 2007 and Russia 2006 and Italy 2004 and 2005.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

5-3 Bafana Bafana wins

US still qualifies despite the loss for the top group in the Homeless World Cup. Second round draw later tonight.
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Halftime 3-3

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Usa vs South Africa

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USA shuts out Slovenia 7-0

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US 5 Slovenia 0 at half

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Historic Win for Lady Salamander

Hero goalkeeper Leslie saves the day and also powered behind 6 Lisa Wrightman goals the Lady Salamanders beat undefeated Norway for historic first victory!
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Lady Sals Lead at half by 2

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Salamanders vs undefeated Norway

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Lady Sals 2. Haiti 6

62 year old Jessica was up top and 17 year old Deqo stepped in the net. In a rough game the Sals staid composed fought hard and made us proud.
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Lisa on Fire!

Lisa scores two goals in 45 sec
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Lady Sals vs Haiti

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Aishling Scores

Salamanders drop game to Argentina but Aishking of Portland gets first goal in another close match 6-3.
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Huge win for USA

Jaime was man of the match. 9-4 victory puts US in position to qualify for second round top graphic. Lady Sals play next vs. Argentina.
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USA kicks of vs Sweden

Tk jaime kevin and ali start
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Coaches regroup with team after Colombia fought back

Lady Sals fought off a tough Colombia sqaud but four quick goals saw us lose the halftime lead. Our athletic ability and good technique kept us in the match. If only we had a few more months to work on technique. Great game nonetheless.
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Sals lead at half 2- 1

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Salamanders vs Colombia

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How's your German

Team USA appeared on this German TV piece. Sent courtesy of intern Philipp Henerkes who works at Ketchum. On Sept 29th TK from NY has an interview for second job with agency through an employment project Philipp established for Street Soccer USA. Here is the video link
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Ali and Tura teamed up to give the US a 4-0 start. Goalie Kevin provided us with calm direction and excellent kick save early on. Big Dave saw his first action in the second half as and Alex of LA provided a good spark on the field. Lady Sals play Colombia next.
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US Men play India in 5 minutes
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Morning Practice

Team USA warms up on a street soccer court in Botafogo
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The River of January 1522 in September 2010

Rio de Janeiro means "River of January." The city's name refers to what explorers thought was the mouth of a great river back in 1502. In fact the river mouth was the Guanabara Bay, which means "arm of the sea" in the local language. The mistaken explorers navigated the coast along the abrupt rising and falling of the Sugar Loaf Mountain Range to arrive at present day Rio on January 1st. In order to keep track of discoveries, it was the custom to name places according the date of disovery. The name stuck, and the lanscape once teeming with jaguars and tapirs became the city know as Rio de Janiero, later the remote capital of Portugal, and then the capital of Brazil until it moved to Brasilia in the 1950's.

Upon arriving in Braziil, one of our players, Deqo, who is of Somali origin, said she thought we had played a trick on her, and that in fact she was back in Africa. Indeed the palm and banana trees, the hazy-thick air, and the haphazard stacking up of houses on the wild curving topography all are the traits of her birthland. Driving in the from the airport we approached the city's center on a high rising freeway overseeing the favelas, which seemed more like sea wreckage washed up on the hillside than the homes of more than 15% of the metropolitan area's 11 million inhabitants. The favelas (slums) of Rio have birthed famous footballers like Ronaldo (most goals ever at the Fifa World Cup), Garrincha (the best dribbler ever to grace a soccer field), and Romario (the highest scoring professional soccer player in the world with more than 1,000 professional goals). As the van hooked east toward the water, our Brazilian Gudie, Paula, apologized for the poverty, saying that Rio is much more than just this, which stuck an extra strange chord given the nature and title of the tournament we had come to compete in. Just as Paula said this, French colonial architecture began to emerge from the sea of favela housing, giving way itself  to modern architecture from the latter half of the 20th century as well as cheaper cement apartment buildings, and finally  after passing through a low semicircular tunnel, the busy streets and coastline soccer fields of Copacabana took center stage and the favelas were out of sight and out of mind on the far side the Sugar Loaves.

The US teams are staying with the Romanian Team in Botafogo, home of the black and white striped soccer club for which Garincha played. From the street in front of the hostel we simply have to look up to see Jesus perched, arms embracing the vastness of sky, sea, and man made maze before him. He looks out from Corcovado - "the hunchback" - a 2,300 ft. mountain named for its lumpy and leaning posture.

The hostel in Botagofo is one metro stop away from Cardinal Acroverde, the site of the tournament headquarters at "Mellow Yellow Pary" hostel, a tall, slender, dingy, cement building where the largest group of teams are housed.

Our hostel has been the perfect retreat from the tournament's excitment. We've relaxed in the courtyard, told jokes and compared notes about all we've seen and done. After 2 days, it feels like we've been here two weeks.

It's a great testimony to the group of 8 staff here with us that the players have bonded so well. Though they are first to give the players themselves the credit, our Street Soccer coaches have facilitated comraderie that took center stage during opening parade. See the photo of our merry gang (left).

One example of the comraderie is the invasion of the Mohawks. Lisa Wrightsman has brought the Mohawk back in style with her super-doo and super skills on the field. She originally wore it along with her fellow Sacramento teammates as a sign of their commitment to recovery. So far, Kevin, Jasmine, Pete, Will, Chris, TK, and Tura have joined the Mohawk madness, and more members may be persuaded to abandon their hairy temples soon. Going for the Mohawk is a complicated gesture. On the one hand its calling attention to one's self and on the other hand it symbolizes a shedding of personal identity with that of the team's identity. Literally or effectively, so far all of the players have answered the Mohawk Challange.

As we explore the country more and as we are challanged through the crucible of the tournament, this trip will continue to be one of discovery. Kevin of Fort Worth stroked phantom whisps of hair above his ear as we descended the subway escalater on the way home from dinner tonight as he said to me, "This trip has really made it clear to me what Street Soccer is all about. It's not about soccer at all, it's about making friendships, learning from others, like for me meeting all these other people who are further ahead of me in their recovery. But most of all it's learning to trust new people, which I have not really done before. I mean, we really support each other. Man, I don't know what I really expected, but it's been awesome. Better than I thought, but in a different way."

In the words of the whole team during the parade and during our games, and echoing still in my ears, "Ole Ole Ole, USA!, USA!"

Gameday 2--First Matches Against India and Columbia

Team USA Men face India at 10:40am. Kevin of Fort Worth set to make his first start in goal. India dropped their opening match to South Africa, so it's crucial encounter for both teams.

Salamanders 5 Dutch 8

Lady Salamanders hung tough with the Dutch at the half. A flurry of goals by supersubs put the game almost out of reach. Lisa scored all five for the US and almost brought the Salamanders within two at the end. We were really proud of them.
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Lady salamanders prepare for action

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US Men drop 3-2 opener to defending champs

In a game in which the US men missed an incredible four penalty kicks and had another great goal called back after an official added an extra ball to the field, the street soccer all stars of america with have much to rue as a real opportunity has passed them by to shock the crowds. Man of the match was two goal scorer Ali Almed. Next up is cricket mad country India and our friend Krikas Vida from Slum Soccer.

The Lady Salamanders play Netherlands in their opener at 5pm Brazilian time today.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lady Salamander from Portland Profiled in Media

Check out great aritcle on Lady Salamanders

Epoch: Street Soccer Team Heads to Homeless World Cup

Read Article about US Training Camp with Redbulls, Team, and departure. . .

Lady Salamanders to Play Netherlands in Opening Match

Group A: Argentina, Haiti, Netherlands, USA, Norway, New Zealand.

The Lady Salamanders will rely heavily on star Lisa Wrightsman as the women's competition looks to be a tough challenge. Team USA features few experienced soccer players in contrast to the Netherlands squad who traveled to various tournaments to compete. The first ever US national women's team kicks off in the final match of day 1. 

Stay tuned for live pictures and updates all day tomorrow on blogger, twitter and facebook. Post comments or send messages of encouragement to the squad.

US Men Draw Defending Champs In HWC Opener

Group B Wins Penalty Loss Goal Difference Cards Goals Points
Ukraine Ukraine 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sweden Sweden 0 0 0 0 0 0
India India 0 0 0 0 0 0
Slovenia Slovenia 0 0 0 0 0 0

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All Invited: Send Off Tonight, Red Bulls Tomorrow!

Tonight Come to our Sendoff Party at 333 Hudson St. on the corner of Hudson and Charlotte. 7:30 pm unitl . . .Happy Hour Special For SSUSA Donors.

Tomorrow, NY Redbulls and DHS Commissioner Diamond Present the National Team with their Jerseys and Then Jersey Sponsor, the Promotion Factory , takes on SSUSA Nationals in rematch from last year at 1pm on the corner of Broom and Chrystie in Soho.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lady Salamander National, Lisa Wrightsman, Sacramento, CA (Striker)

Lisa, left, in action. (Rich Qualters)

Lisa Wrightsman, Sacramento, CA (Striker)

Lisa Wrightsman survived cancer as a child. She played college and semi-professional soccer until drug and alcohol addiction overtook her life. She is now 10 months sober and was the National Women's Player Of the Tournament at the SSUSA Cup in Washington, DC. She has been featured in the local media and in the New York Times. In 2010 Lisa hopes to coach the Sacramento Women's team.  She has personality and presence that would win over anyone in a heartbeat. She even shaved her head in a Mohawk just to bond with her male teammates from Sacramento.

 Lisa has said that getting sober and back onto the soccer field had been “the toughest thing she has ever done,” including beating cancer. “I’ve worked harder for this anything I ever have in my life.”


Make an online donation during the month of September and receive a free, red, SSUSA supporters' bracelet.

Lady Salamander National, Jasmine Alyssa, Minneapolis, MN (Goalkeeper, Striker)

Jasmine Alyssa, Minneapolis, MN (Goalkeeper, Striker)

Jasmine Alyssa was homeless for two years prior to joining the Street Soccer USA program, after being kicked out of her home.  Since joining the Minneapolis Street Soccer team 10 months ago, she has accomplished a lot of wonderful things:

“I started counseling at my coach’s request even though I didn’t like talking about my problems.  I’ve benefited a lot from this because now I know how to handle things better and I’m more open to talking about things.  I also got into transitional housing a month ago and I’m starting a new job next week. I’m graduating soon and also enrolled in college for the fall.” – Jasmine Alyssa

Jose Acuna, National Team coach in 2009, and coach of the Street Soccer USA Cup winners in 2008, and finalist in 2009, is indeed a winner. However what he achieves with the youth off the field is where his real talent lies. In addition to coaching, Jose is performs outreach for our partner YouthLink MN in Minneapolis.

Make an online donation during the month of September and receive a free, red, SSUSA supporters' bracelet.

Lady Salamander National, Aisling Rose O'Grady, Portland, OR (Defender)

Aisling Rose O'Grady, Portland, OR (Defender)

Portland’s Outside In serves homeless teens in the city. They launched their first soccer team by first training and building trust in the latter part of 2009. Things gained momentum and they brought a full squad to the 2010 Cup in DC. Aisling was the lone girl on the team, and made the Lady Salamander national team.

“I enjoy playing soccer with the Street Soccer USA program. I’m just finished a 10- week work experience, as well as a summer term at Portland Community College. I would like to study music. I come from a musically talented family!”- Aisling Rose

Make an online donation during the month of  September and receive a free, red, SSUSA supporters' bracelet.

SSUSA National, David Alan Altherr—Ann Arbor, MI (Defender)

David Alan Altherr—Ann Arbor, MI (Defender)
David survived a difficult and abusive childhood, took responsibility for the consequences of some bad choices he made in his adulthood, and now thrives as a 7-months-sober, housed, responsible citizen who is a positive example and mentor to his 9-year-old daughter and his peers.  He also inspires his coaches with his optimism, wicked sense of humor, and compassion for others.  His motto: “I never give up.  I persevere.”

Street Soccer Ann Arbor is run in partnership with the Project Outreach Team from Washtenaw County Social Services. The organization serves homeless, mentally ill and disabled people. The Ann Arbor team won the Fair Play Trophy from SSUSA in 2010 and Sara Silvenoinnen, the team’s founder, was the SSUSA National Coach in 2008.

Make an online donation during the month of  September and receive a free, red, SSUSA supporters' bracelet.

Lady Salamander National, Jessica Watson-Crosby, New York, NY (Defender)

Lady Salamanders Celebrate with Founding Sponsor Sheila Johnson
Jessica Watson-Crosby, New York, NY (Defender)

At 62 years old, Jessica is not one who thought learning new tricks was possible. “The experience of playing soccer and being around such a group of positive people, taught me that actually, I was oppressed. A prisoner in my own mind. I thought Street Soccer was some kind of joke, but even before I got to play on this national team, I can honestly say that it changed my life.” Jessica is a resident in the in the Brownsville women’s shelter Brooklyn run by HELP USA. She joined the first ever women’s team catalyzed by the launch of the Lady Salamander Program in 2010.

Make an online donation during the month of September and receive a free, red, SSUSA supporters' bracelet.

Street Soccer USA National, Marlon Alexander—Los Angeles, CA (Striker, Goalkeeper)

Marlon Alexander—Los Angeles, CA (Striker, Goalkeeper)

Marlon with Liverpool's David Ngog when he and friend Emmerson Boyce visited SSLA
Marlon’s story begins in Guatemala. As a child, he lived in poverty without access to formal education, oftentimes living on the streets.  After being child-trafficked to the States and being forced into child labor, he was uncovered in a federal raid, he entered the foster care system and aged out into the shelter. He was unsuccessful in school and was depressed until he found the Street Soccer LA team. Now, at 18, Marlon’s life is on a new, positive path.

“This program has awakened in me a dream . . . I feel that being a member of this team brings new challenges and new goals; now I believe that I can do anything as long I put my mind into it.”- Marlon Alexander

Marlon's high school teacher says there is clear dividing line between Marlon before playing soccer, and Marlon after. His hygiene in proved, he was smiling and talkative, she shared. "Something had clearly changed so I asked him," she said. "I am part of a soccer team," he said.

Street Soccer LA is run in partnership with Jovenes, Inc. Former Street Soccer USA National Captain (2008), Johnny Figueroa coaches the team. Jovenes, Inc., located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood serves homeless teens, providing permanent and transitional housing in addition to an array of other support services.

Make an online donation during the month of September and receive a free, red, SSUSA supporters' bracelet.

SSUSA National, Tura Sultan Hassan Minneapolis, MN (Striker)

Tura (right center) with his MN teammates
Tura Sultan Hassan Minneapolis, MN (Striker)

Tura was born in Ethiopia and moved to Kenya when he was three years old after his twin sister was shot and killed.  Tura experienced a difficult youth as the living conditions in Ethiopia and Kenya during his childhood were horrible.  He loves to play soccer because it “keeps his mind and body occupied.”  Tura joined the Street Soccer program a few months ago and has since secured employment and moved into his own housing. His dazzling ball skills and winning smile promise to teach the Brazilians a little something about Joga Bonita, the beautiful game.

“Soccer keeps me out of trouble and soccer is not just a game to me, soccer is life.” – Tura Sultan Hassan

Make an online donation during the month of September and receive a free, red, SSUSA supporters' bracelet.