Street Soccer USA the Nation’s Premier Sport for Social Change
By Renaldo Francis
Soccer For Social Change
Street Soccer is a non-profit organization that aids youth (15+) and adults in overcoming homelessness.The program can be found in 20 cities in the U.S. and is a subsidiary company of the HELP USA Umbrella Social Services. Street Soccer USA uses the concept of team sports and soccer to create a competitive and team fostering environment for their players. It also provides players with a program of life and job training among other services. The goal of street soccer U.S.A participants is obtaining a job, furthering their education and/or finding housing.
Besides the social cause, street soccer like any other sport can get competitive. Two 4×4 teams compete in 2 seven minute halves. Teams are allowed to have three field players and one goal keeper. No field players can enter the goal keeper area. Only two players are allowed on defense, which results in more attack-oriented game play. This year games took place on July 26th and 27th with finals taking place on Sunday July 29th in Times Square. All participants have a chance to make the U.S. national team for the homeless world cup in Mexico City in October.
20 Cities Represented in the Cup
This past weekend street soccer USA brought together twenty cities from New York, Charlotte N.C., Los Angeles and Minneapolis to name a few. Teams train all-throughout the year leading up to the cup. All the matches this year were competitive and intense, the tournament had teams in groups of six and they play in Round Robin format on Thursday and Friday. The top 2 teams from each group played for the Street Soccer cup on Sunday.
From the beginning, quite a few teams stood out but the men’s and women team of Minneapolis. It seemed that the men’s Minneapolis team competition was speechless on how well the field players passed the ball, at times including their goal keeper in plays. Once they had more points than their opponents they would play “keep away with the ball” frustrating even the most determined teams. The end results, they as well as the women’s team won both cups.