With less than two months until the 2010 Street Soccer USA Cup, 200 players from all over the country are preparing for their journey to Washington DC. Each team is filled with interesting people who have overcome great challenges to get to the Cup. While we don’t have the ability to highlight them all prior to the tournament, in the next few weeks you will read about some of the amazing individuals who will be competing for more than a trophy this summer.
Meet Antoine. This will be his second SSUSA Cup as he returns to help San Francisco defend its Street Soccer USA Cup crown. In 2009, Antoine captained the team, organized by the San Francisco based Glide Youthbuild Program, to an undefeated record during the tournament. He was then selected to the U.S. National team to compete at the Homeless World Cup in Milan, Italy last September. Antoine helped guide the team to a top 20 finish, the best showing ever by the United States at the Homeless World Cup.
Antoine will return to Washington DC this year in a much different role, as coach of the 2010 team. In addition to coaching, Antoine teaches at the Glide Youthbuild Program. He works to provide high school diplomas, life skills, and job training to young adults from marginalized neighborhoods in San Francisco who are often homeless. It wasn’t so long ago that Antoine was in dire need of the support he provides now.
As a young adult, Antoine resorted to alcohol to help cope with his bipolar disorder. He regularly slept in parks and on the street, convinced he would wind up homeless his entire life. After being hospitalized as a danger to himself, Antoine found refuge in the soccer program at Glide. “Soccer was a crucial element in my recovery because I continued to play in my darkest moments as it always gave me joy and allowed me to be free for a few moments”.
Antoine joins a growing collection of players turned coaches which include Los Angeles coach, Johnny Figeroa, who was selected Nike Fair Play Trophy Winner at the Homeless World Cup in 2008. Together this group of coaches will train their teams to score goals to earn the SSUSA Cup title, but more importantly to stay focused on their life goals with the support of their team.
The count down has begun. Only 51 days until the 2010 Street Soccer USA Cup!
For the third consecutive year, the Street Soccer USA Cup will be held at the fabulous Washington Kastles World Tennis Team Stadium, located between 9th and 11th and "H" Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C. The event will take place from July 30 - August 1. Admission is free. In 2010, teams from 18 cities across the nation will arrive in DC to vie for the SSUSA title. The event culminates with the selection of a national team which with compete at the Homeless World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Check out www.streetsoccerusa.org for more information.