Last weekend, over 60 kids took part in the first Atlanta BeltLine Street Cup of 2014.  The great weather made for a fun event at the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark field.  

Check out the photo album here!

Our next Atlanta BeltLine Street Cup will be in April, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

I’m also very excited to have a guy like Ricardo Montoya with me. I have huge respect for his knowledge of the landscape of soccer in Atlanta, and in a short time, he has introduced me to everyone I need to know to tap into the deep talent pool here. It’s very similar to what I like to do in California – go out to fields and identify players that have been overlooked.
Eric Wynalda, US Soccer Hall of Famer and Atlanta Silverbacks Technical Director, discussing Soccer in the Streets Program Director Ricardo Montoya.

Growing up, we stayed in Section 8 apartments, so every time we walked outside, we saw drug dealers and gangbangers,” Lauren said.

So many of the youth we work with need your extra helping hand to find the path to success. They need your help to navigate the roadblocks of life that can be so scary for a kid.

Today’s youth have lots of opportunities to detour from a successful path, probably more than we did. For many, gangs become an attractive alternative. Besides just providing a needed sense of belonging, they also provide vital income. Fifteen gangs are active in one Atlanta police zone alone. As of November 2013, the African-American youth (16-19 year olds) unemployment rate is 393% higher than the national unemployment rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rates are comparable for Hispanic youth as well.

Soccer in the Streets kept me on the right path because it was a positive outlet for our energy so we didn’t have to turn to the streets. As we got older, they took us through referee classes and coaching classes and showed us alternative ways to make money other than going towards the streets.”

Soccer in the Streets uses a sophisticated approach to battle these issues and make sure that our participants have a chance to succeed in life.

We bring young, bright, culturally competent role models to inspire kids to follow the right path and educate the youth to the opportunities that can be available to them. Using soccer as a medium, trained coaches teach skills and life lessons such as personal responsibility and job readiness. They engage the youth and create a lasting relationship of trust and a channel of communication.

The School of Life program, which prepares teenagers for future economic independence through hands on learning activities and employment experience, has been successful since its launch. We provided nearly one hundred employment opportunities to participants and graduates in 2013.

However, we are only scratching the surface in terms of overall need and depth of service. Your support is critical to our youngsters.

Lauren recently graduated from Mississippi Valley State University, in part thanks to a soccer scholarship. She has returned to Soccer in the Streets, now as a coach.

I decided to get involved in coaching because Soccer in the Streets has been there for me since I was 4 years old. It’s good to give back to the folks who have helped you along your way. It’s rewarding when you get to interact with kids and make their day.”

We need your help today to change the lives of the next generation. Your donation will provide much needed opportunities to children in need.

Your support changes lives… just ask Lauren.

"My name is Imber and I was born in California, I moved to Atlanta when I was 8 years old.

image

Gang violence was around at the time I moved here. Soccer in the Streets came to my neighborhood around the time that was going on.

Instead of being in the streets and doing drugs, I chose to play soccer every Wednesday and Friday and focused on school.

Ever since then, Soccer in the Streets has been part of my life.

I am 22 years old now and play for FC Aztec which I’m very proud of.”

Imber has chosen to stay on the right path, avoiding gangs and violence, and is now using his experience to provide an example to the next generation as a coach and role model.  

Help Imber provide more opportunities to kids who need them.  Donate today at www.soccerstreets.org/donate.

First of all, just let me say how much I love my colleagues.  They are some genuinely good people – generous, caring, intelligent, dedicated.  I am honored, and sometimes even amazed, to be considered their peer.  There is a very strong unity of purpose, amid the diversity of views and backgrounds.  That speaks to the vision of the founders and the importance of the mission of streetfootballworld and, by extension, the network.

image

(streetfootballworld network board hard at work!  Vladimir, Ana, Abhijeet, me, Jurgen, Veronica, Christophe & Steve)

Our most recent time in Quito, Ecuador, was incredible on so many levels.  First of all, our host, the team from FUDELA and specifically our colleague, Veronica Escobar, is the GOLD STANDARD.  We were treated like dignitaries and I have to say that I really felt special.  We had the opportunity to experience the culture, the sights, the food, and most importantly, the impactful work of FUDELA through some very meaningful contact with the young people who are learning, growing and leading that wonderful organization.  To see the methodologies in action and the results in the lives of these kids is nothing short of miraculous. 

image

Talking teamwork:  Defender and forward pose for a picture after sharing their lessons learned through their participation in FUDELA’s programs.

I am leaving Ecuador truly touched and inspired … a better person.  We met so many wonderful people.  This place is truly a jewel in Latin America.  I hope to return to visit again someday soon.

Future of Football in Ecuador:  At the conclusion of “Foro: Futbol y Desarrollo” the participants pose for a team photo

Regarding the work at hand, the network board is reaching new levels of activation, consensus and momentum.  We welcome four new organizations as network members and know that their contribution will be valuable to our field.  We also addressed strategic matters related to regional development and a 5-year plan.  The board is keenly aware that growth and quality, while both are important, must be balanced. 

The important task of resource development was also discussed.  The work and support of the network requires sufficient and sustainable resources.  A strong portfolio of partners and diverse revenue streams is highly desirable and the charge of not only the streetfootballworld team worldwide, but also the board of directors.  We take this responsibility seriously and will do everything within our ability to support this effort and do so with the realization that as the network benefits, so do each of the respective organizations that make up the network.

There was also much excitement as we discussed the upcoming events in Brazil in 2014.  It is an important time as this platform affords streetfootballworld and its members the opportunity to showcase the incredible work that is changing lives worldwide. 

image

(29 streetfootballworld network members will take part in the FIFA Football For Hope Festival 2014)

As individuals, the board members are now finding their stride as we identify issues that we feel either particularly motivated to address or specifically qualified to lead working groups that would mobilize around such issues.  There will be much more activity surrounding these topics in the coming months.

I feel energized for the work ahead, both on the local and the global level.  It is reassuring to know that we’re not alone in the struggles we each face in our daily work.  A friend is only an email or a Skype call or a forum post away.  We can reach out for advice or encouragement.  After all, that is what networks are for.

Home

I hope that I’m the only one who feels this way.

As a 20+ year practitioner in the field of soccer for development, sometimes I look at the latest offering for training or clinic or conference with the attitude –

“Oh no, not another one.  What more could possibly be said that I haven’t heard before?  What more could I possibly learn after 20+ years?  I’ve got work to do, how could I possibly make time to squeeze in yet another meeting?”

Then I come back to reality, sign up, attend the event and kick myself for ever thinking such thoughts!

(To be honest, I then feel a little guilty that I had that attitude in the first place and yet selfishly take advantage of the opportunity to participate myself.  Yes, Paul, sometimes I’m less than honest because I either 1) don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or 2) I just can’t deal with the truth myself.)

This latest opportunity was perhaps one of the best yet.

First of all, if anyone has the idea that our field is not constantly changing and evolving, you will go the way of the dinosaurs.  We must be nimble and constantly innovating to answer the needs of those whom we serve.

Second of all, if you ever have the opportunity to participate in a Football For Hope/adidas Exchange program, jump at the chance to be a part of it. 

Here are the top five reasons (I’m sure there are more) to do it:

Number 5:  The organization and accommodations are a special treat.  Yes, we’re all very budget conscious, so it’s a rare treat to not have to worry about finding a deal on everything from hotel to food to transport.

Number 4:  You get to drive the agenda.  Among those who take part, there is a special effort given to find out what the network members need to learn and share.

Number 3:  The experts that are identified to lead the trainings are selected particularly for their specialized areas of skill and knowledge.  They are also dynamic trainers and speakers, keeping the participants engaged and enthusiastic.

Number 2:  The attention to detail by both the hosting organization and the staff of streetfootballworld is second to none and demonstrates their dedication to supporting the mission and the organizations who do the work.  The planning, the selection of trainers, the accommodations … everything works together to create the best possible learning experience for all of us.

And finally, the number one reason to be a part of the Football For Hope/adidas Exchange is the actual exchange.  And it’s much more than just exchanging business cards and niceties.  There is a genuine camaraderie that is present where ever WE are present.  A genuine desire to share and help and learn.  A true feeling of being in it together, knowing that each of us can appreciate what the others are going through and can be of support, even if it’s only through encouraging words. 

The effectiveness of the Exchange is a true reflection of the effectiveness of each of us and our work in this field.  We are driven to make things better, including ourselves and each other.  And in turn, we are more prepared and better able to make a difference for our kids, families and communities.

My name is Muhozi Aimable, I have been playing for Clarkston Football Club (CFC) for 3 years now. We have been receiving support from various organizations and donors to have a better soccer environment. Soccer is a sport that brings most of the kids together and keeps us out trouble, away from family problems, and simply brings enjoyment to us and that is all we can ask for.

Recently, the BB&T Lighthouse Project donated cleats, nets and hosted a Street-Cup where our foot skills with a soccer ball were showcased. The day went well and everybody who came ranging from the age of 5 to 19 had fun. We played a tournament where we mixed all ages and everybody had fun.

Personally, I really learned a lot on this day. Since we had little kids on our team, it was my duty and my teammates’ duty to care of the little kids on our team. It taught me responsibility.

I just want to say thank you to the BB&T Lighthouse Project and the others who made this day happen.  

Remember the block parties that used to bring a neighborhood together? We’re bringing that back for the whole city!

Join Soccer in the Streets as we present the first ever StreetJam, celebrating our organization and our kids as we use soccer to help kids Choose the Right Path.

Free Street Soccer games and activities for kids and adults to play, including:

FreeStyle Battles

Juggling Contests

Panna Matches

Live DJ, art project, and more!

Please RSVP and share this event with everyone!
https://www.facebook.com/events/193971047434275/?fref=ts

Join us on August 17 to celebrate soccer and all the opportunities it provides to our kids, our neighborhoods, our city, and our world!

Aaron Moore is running with Team Soccer in the Streets in this year’s Peachtree Road Race to help give more kids the opportunity to play and grow as individuals. He has benefited from his participation in sports and wants to pass that on to others.

You can donate to Aaron’s cause here:  http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamSITS-Peachtree2013/fundraiser/aaronmoore1 

Here’s his story…

Read More

Leonel Ayala is running on Team Soccer in the Streets in next week’s Peachtree Road Race.  He joined the team in order to help raise money for our programs across metro Atlanta.  

You can make a pledge for Leonel here:  http://www.crowdrise.com/TeamSITS-Peachtree2013/fundraiser/leonelayala

Leonel’s story is similar to many of the kids in our programs…

image

Read More