Friday, August 19, 2011

Soccer Silicon Valley Community Foundation Sponsors 2 Bay Area Players at 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris

Soccer Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SSVCF), true to its mission of "building community through soccer," is stepping forward to sponsor two Street Soccer USA (SSUSA) national team members from the Bay Area to compete in the annual Homeless World Cup tournament in Paris at the end of August.

The annual Homeless World Cup is a world-class, international street soccer competition that unites players from 56 nations across the world to fight homelessness through soccer. SSUSA organizes teams at homeless shelters, employment programs, and recovery houses across the country to help teens and adults achieve positive outcomes in education, jobs, and housing placement. Each year SSUSA selects 8 exceptional men and women from its various programs to participate in the games. Two of the players are from the SSUSA Bay Area program.

"I was able to attend the Street Soccer USA national championships at Washington, D.C. last June while in town for a San Jose Earthquakes game," said SSVCF president Don Gagliardi. "I was really impressed with the competitive drive and sportsmanship of the players on all the teams. They have obviously had a rough go of it in their lives or they wouldn't be homeless, but they all exhibited the spirit of champions. It was a real reminder that the homeless are our neighbors and a part of our community, too. I'm really happy SSV Community Foundation is able to help send a pair of players from the Bay Area to Paris to represent our community as our ambassadors through soccer."

Street Soccer USA Bay Area Director Rob Cann added, "We are thankful to the Foundation and all Quakes fans to be able to send our two amazing players to Paris for the Homeless World Cup in what will be a life-changing experience. Don and the SSVCF have proved again that when it comes to supporting soccer in the Bay Area they are making a huge difference."

Dave Kovich, 38, is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Johnson and Wales Culinary School. After suffering familial problems and financial hardship, he relocated to San Francisco and has been living in the St. Vincent de Paul Shelter. Through SSUSA he revised his resume and received preferred interviews at several restaurants. He is now working as a cook in Sausalito, CA. He will play goalkeeper for Team USA.

Carlos Trujillo, 21, came to the US from Colombia when he was 16 years old. His family moved from place to place and ended up doubling up with other families and friends; he has never had his own place to live while in the US. Through SSUSA, Carlos enrolled at the San Francisco Conservation Corps a year ago, received his high school diploma and is now taking classes at City College as part of their teaching program.

In addition to the support of SSVCF, Quakes striker Chris Wondolowski, who won the 2010 Golden Boot as the top goal scorer in Major League Soccer, also recently signed on as a Street Soccer USA National Ambassador. Street Soccer USA also enjoys the support of HELP USA, Sheila Johnson, the Ted Leonsis Foundation and the US Soccer Foundation.

About SSUSA:
Street Soccer USA (SSUSA),, is a development program of HELP USA, which believes ending homelessness is a team sport. Through a systematic approach, SSUSA Builds community and trust through sport with participants and volunteers, transforming the context within which they live from one of isolation, abuse, and marginalization, to one of community, purpose, and achievement, requires participants to set 3, 6, and 12-month life goals, and empowers participants by providing access to services and educational/employment opportunities through our Jobs Academy.

SSUSA has achieved a greater than 75% success rate working with a participant pool for which a 33% success rate is considered enormously successful. To date this accounts for placement of 485 homeless youth and adults in jobs and housing out of 617 team members. In fact, SSUSA claims a 90% success rate in terms of effecting positive measurable change in our participants' lives when we consider other outcome such as addressing mental health / substance abuse issues, reducing recidivism in jails, etc. Likewise over 90% of participants show indications of improved self esteem, physical health, and social skills, all of which create a greater likelihood of reintegration and employment.

About SSVCF: 
Soccer Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SSVCF) was formed in 2007 as a 501c(3) non-profit charitable arm of Soccer Silicon Valley, which is the voice of San Jose Earthquakes fans working to find a permanent home for soccer in the Bay Area. SSVCF is the only all-volunteer, fan-based philanthrophy in American professional sports. Comprised entirely of Earthquakes fans, the mission of SSVCF is to ensure on an ongoing, sustainable basis the vitality and availability to all of the sport of soccer in the Bay Area.

Save the date. On October 19, 2011, SSVCF will be holding its fourth annual event at San Jose City Hall. As always, this will be an opportunity to socialize with Earthquakes players past and present while supporting SSVCF's charitable efforts in "building community through soccer." For more information, contact SSVCF president Don Gagliardi at 408-836-9850.

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