8 players from the Estudiantes Juniors team in College Park, GA and their coach traveled to the Okefenokee Swamp for a camping field trip last weekend.  

The darkness hit and we where all excited and nervous. The trees hit the road like a scary movie and the boys soon began to comment how dark it was. One boy shouted out “I can see stars!” each faced pushed against the window looking up at the night sky. I smiled as I realized they where about experience amazement.”

Thanks to the Georgia State Parks and the Park Rangers for helping to provide this experience to these kids!

Beginning August 1st, Soccer in the Streets began a partnership with the Intown Academy to provide an intramural league for first through eighth graders at Central Park in the Old Fourth Ward/Boulevard area.

InTown Academy opened in 2010 as a K-8 Charter School, serving 365 students.  The mission of the school is to provide a world class education and “serve as an anchor for a growing and changing community”. 

Soccer in the Streets programming will assist in the school’s goal to provide an outlet for students to be active, and develop desired character traits.  These activities will prepare their students to participate in the Atlanta Public Schools’ soccer league next spring.

Many of the students are new to soccer, so the program will begin with skill building activities, followed by assigning students to teams and playing games.  From there, coaches will implement regular after-school practices and intramural games throughout the fall.

We are working to add a winter component using a gymnasium at Central Park, and Spring will bring continued intramural programming for younger participants.  Soccer in the Streets will assist with the implementation of middle school teams which will participate in the APS middle school league from February thru April. 

Funding for this program was generously provided by PNC Bank.  PNC has 10 branches throughout the Atlanta region, providing consumers and small businesses with deposit, lending, cash management and investment services.  

It seems like just yesterday…but it was 25 years ago, a few dedicated volunteers decided to introduce soccer to a wider audience in the US.

Founder Carolyn McKenzie’s goal was to bring soccer to the inner city, where it was virtually unknown, and to provide an outlet for young people in inner city communities with limited access to organized sports a new option.

In 1998, current CEO Jill Robbins was recruited from a Soccer in the Streets affiliate in Youngstown,Ohio to join the national headquarters in Atlanta.

Since then, soccer programming has grown from short term introductory sessions to year round holistic programming.

Over the past 25 years, Soccer in the Streets has pioneered the use of soccer for social change, and achieved many things:

1989:   Soccer in the Streets is founded

1994:   Held soccer clinics across US as part of the ‘94 FIFA World Cup

1998:   Held soccer clinics across US as part of the ‘98 FIFA World Cup

1999:   Held national soccer clinics as part of the ‘99 FIFA Women’s World Cup

2001:   “Positive-Choice Soccer” developed in conjunction with Atlanta Public Schools and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta

2004:   Founding member of streetfootballworld

2006:   Represented the US at the streetfootballworld Festival during the ‘06 FIFA World Cup in Berlin, Germany

2007:   Founding member of Urban Soccer Collaborative

2007:  Awarded grant through FIFA Football for Hope program

2009:   “School of Life” launched, combining employment training with soccer for teenagers

2009:   First Black Tie Soccer Game – primary fundraising event

2010:   Represented the US at the Football for Hope Festival during the ‘10 FIFA World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa

2011:   First ATL Champions League

2011:  Awarded 1st Coca-Cola Foundation Grant to support School of Life program

2014:   Received Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation grant to establish first soccer league on the West side of Atlanta in Castleberry Hill neighborhood

 

4 teams enter, 2 teams go home… South American Smackdown today at the World Cup

Brazil v. Chile, 12pm

Key Players:
Brazil:  Neymar- He has carried Brazil so far, and will need to continue to do so unless some of his teammates step up their play.  He will cut inside from the left side of the attack and must be accounted for by a tough Chilean defense.
Chile:  Arturo Vidal- He came into the tournament recovering from surgery and was rested against the Netherlands. With Brazil’s midfield looking rather disjointed, Vidal can be key in sparking a Chilean upset.

Colombia v. Uruguay, 4pm

Key Players:
Colombia:  James Rodrguez- According to many, he’s been the best player in the tournament thus far.  He plays behind Jackson Martinez as an attacking midfielder, but is free to pop up wherever he likes. He’s been scoring goals and setting them up for the high powered Colombian attack. 
Uruguay:  Diego Forlan- After losing Luis Suarez to his moment of madness, the inspirational leader Forlan will be pressed back into service to lift his team.  He was the best player in South Africa four years ago, but it’s unclear if he has enough left in the tank to defeat one of Colombia’s best ever teams.

Where to watch with Soccer in the Streets:

Diesel Filling Station, 870 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, 30306
We’ll be watching today’s games at Diesel Filling Station in Virginia-Highland.  You can support our programs at APS schools by drinking Bud Light draft, $1 from every pint and $4 from every pitcher will donated to Soccer in the Streets. 

We were out in the field and missed the early games.  Argentina took care of business in winning the group behind two goals from Lionel Messi.  Nigeria advanced in second place despite the 3-2 loss to Argentina.  

Honduras v. Switzerland, 4pm

Key Players:
Honduras:  Jerry Bengston- The New England Revolution forward has to have a big game to keep Honduras’ slim chances for advancement alive.
Switzerland:  Philippe Senderos- He came on for the injured Steve von Bergen in the last match with France and did not impress. The veteran will likely start today and be vital to the Swiss defense.

France v. Ecuador, 4pm

Key Players:
France:  Rio Mavuba- Expected to start in place of the suspended Yohan Cabaye, he will be needed to secure the draw necessary to move France into the Round of 16 as the group champion.  
Ecuador: Enner Valencia- Ecuador needs a win to secure the next round, and much will be expected of their leading scorer.

Where to watch with Soccer in the Streets:

Diesel Filling Station, 870 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, 30306
You can support Soccer in the Streets by drinking Bud Light draft all month long at Diesel.  $1 from every pint and $4 from every pitcher are being donated to our programs with Atlanta Public Schools.  

Tomorrow… we will see you at Diesel for USA v. Germany. You know you’ve been waiting for an excuse to take that vacation day…

Things are getting complicated today…

Costa Rica v. England, 12pm

Scenario:  England is already eliminated.  Costa Rica is already through to the next round and can win the group with a draw or win today.

Key Players:
Costa Rica:  Bryan Ruiz- His header defeated Italy last week.  He is the key to the Costa Rican attack and will be needed to keep the Ticos thriving.
England:  Raheem Sterling- He’s done well in their first two games and will be one of the key players for England going forward.  

Italy v. Uruguay, 12pm

Scenario:  Italy can advance with a draw due to their superior goal differential, Uruguay must win.  There’s a remote chance that either one could end up winning the group if Costa Rica loses and there is a big swing in the goal differential.

Key Players:
Italy:  Marco Verratti- With Andrea Pirlo as the focal point of the Italian midfield, Verratti will have to keep things more balanced today and protect from the Uruguayan counterattack.
Uruguay:  Luis Suarez- He didn’t do much against England, but still scored two goals.  It will be up to him to lead his squad to the next round. 

Colombia v. Japan, 4pm

Scenario:  Colombia is through to the next round, but will need at least a draw to seal winning the group.  Japan must win and hope for a favorable outcome in the other match.

Key Players:
Colombia:  Jackson Martinez- He will be looking to earn a bigger role in the next role with a big game today
Japan:  Shinji Kagawa- He will likely return to the starting lineup after appearing as a substitute against Greece. Japan’s attack hasn’t been what was expected and Kagawa will have to have a hand in improving it.

Greece v. Ivory Coast, 4pm

Scenario:  Ivory Coast can win to secure their ticket to the Round of 16.  A draw might see them through, if Japan doesn’t beat Colombia and overturn the tiebreakers.  Greece must win and hope for a Colombia draw or win, or win by a large margin to overturn any potential of Japan beating them out on tiebreakers.

Key Players:
Greece
:  Giorgios Samaras- Greece’s inspirational leader must step up and contribute to the Greek attack today.  They need goals in a big way.
Ivory Coast:  Gervinho- He’s scored in each of his last three matches with Ivory Coast and has one of the goals of the tournament with his solo effort against Colombia.  

Where to watch with Soccer in the Streets:

Diesel Filling Station, 870 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, 30306
Catch the 4pm games deciding the outcome of Group A at Diesel. You can support Soccer in the Streets by drinking Bud Light draft, $1 from every pint and $4 from every pitcher will be donated to our programs in Atlanta Public Schools.

Can we all agree to forget that the last 30 seconds of USA v. Portugal happened?

Spain v. Australia, 12pm

The game doesn’t matter as both teams are eliminated. Both teams will likely be emptying their benches and looking forward to the plane ride home.

Chile v. Netherlands, 12pm

Scenario: The Dutch come into the game with the advantage and will win the group with a draw. Winning the group is important here, as the winner will likely avoid Brazil in the Round of 16.

Key Players:
Chile:  Charles Aranguiz- He scored against Spain and has been one of Chile’s best midfielders in the tournament. He plays for Internacional in Brazil.
Netherlands:  Memphis Depay- With Robin van Persie suspended due to yellow card accumulation, Depay will be very important in driving the Dutch forward.

Brazil v. Cameroon, 4pm

Scenario:  Brazil needs a win or draw to secure passage to the next round. A loss brings lots of things into play and could see the hosts bounced early.

Key Players:
Brazil:  Fred- He’s been very disappointing thus far and must step up to give Brazil some strength up top.
Cameroon:  Benoit Assou-Ekotto- He’s extremely dangerous going forward and can trouble Brazil’s own attacking outside backs. 

Mexico v. Croatia, 4pm

Scenario:  Mexico need a draw to advance. Croatia will be going for the win to qualify for the next round.  Depending on how things go, there could be lots of scoreboard watching late in these games.

Mexico:  Miguel Layun- He loves to get forward, but has to be careful about Croatia’s outside backs getting behind him today, especially when a draw is all Mexico requires.
Croatia:  Luka Modric- He hasn’t been poor thus far, but needs a big performance to break down a tough Mexico defense who will be playing conservatively to protect their spot in the next round.

Where to watch with Soccer in the Streets:

Diesel Filling Station, 870 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, 30306
Catch the 4pm games deciding the outcome of Group A at Diesel. You can support Soccer in the Streets by drinking Bud Light draft, $1 from every pint and $4 from every pitcher will be donated to our programs in Atlanta Public Schools.

Can the USA book their ticket to the Round of 16?

Belgium v. Russia, 12pm 

Key Players:
Belgium:  Eden Hazard- With Russia likely to focus on defense, it will take the skills and creativity of Hazard to create chances for Belgium.
Russia:  Aleksandr Kokorin- The center forward will be key in giving Russia’s defense a breather by holding the ball up top, and finishing any chances that come his way.

Algeria v. South Korea, 3pm

Key Players:
Algeria:  Saphir Taider- The Inter Milan midfielder is the key creator in Algeria’s attack. He played previously for French youth national teams before declaring for Algeria.  
South Korea:  Lee Keun-Ho- He came off the bench to score the goal against Russia, with some help from a mistake by Russia’s goalkeeper.  He could get the start today.

USA v. Portugal, 6pm

Key Players:
USA:  Kyle Beckerman- As the anchor of the US midfielder, he will have his hands full with a strong Portuguese attack.  His positioning will be key, as will his distribution to launch attacks.
Portugal:  Joao Moutinho- With Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness a big question mark, Moutinho becomes even more important as the central playmaker.  He will be a key in breaking down the US defense.

Where to watch with Soccer in the Streets:

Diesel Filling Station, 870 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, 30306
For USA v. Ghana, Diesel reached its capacity before kickoff.  Get there early!  You can support Soccer in the Streets programs many different ways today.  We will be grilling burgers on the patio, they will be $3 cash with a portion of the proceeds going to our programs.  We will be raffling off 2 US national team jerseys, one at 3pm and one prior to kickoff.  You can also drink Bud Light DRAFT, $1 from every pint and $4 from every pitcher will benefit our programs.  

All proceeds from our fundraisers at Diesel benefit our programs in Atlanta Public Schools.