"My name is Imber and I was born in California, I moved to Atlanta when I was 8 years old.
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.
(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.
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.
(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.
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:
Live DJ, art project, and more!
Please RSVP and share this event with everyone!
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…
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…
My name is Blake Roller. I am a college senior interning for Soccer in the Streets. I had the privilege to work at my first Soccer in the Streets event and what an event it was. With me being fairly new to the Soccer in the Streets team, I was quickly thrown into getting things ready for their event at the Clarkston Community Center with BB&T. BB&T host their Lighthouse Project throughout their local communities to help give back and Soccer in the Streets was approached about teaming up for a local project. The Clarkston Community Center was a perfect spot for this project. We host many events and programs throughout the year there and the field provided for outdoor programs is in poor shape, so why not spruce things up a bit by doing some service projects and have Soccer in the Streets host a Street Cup inviting all the local kids in the community.
I arrived at the Clarkston Community Center around 6:45am not knowing anything about the place or what it looked like. My fellow staff told me that it was located outside of Atlanta with a large community or refugees there. Our projects we had planned were to 1) clean up the field by mowing the grass with a brand new mower donated by BB&T, clean up the kudzu infested hill surrounding the scoreboard, and lining the fields for soccer play; 2) put up a backstop net to keep balls from going up into the kudzu hill, build brand new benches and picnic tables, and put up a sunshade sail near the picnic area; 3) provide the kids with a place to play soccer and donate brand new soccer cleats to all of the participating kids.
So where do I play in all of this? My job was to help prepare the fields for the Street Cup later in the afternoon. I helped our Program Director Ricardo line the fields and set up the goals for the games while also helping out at any other areas that I could.
Overall the day went really well even with the weather not being on our side. This was the first time I had ever done a community service event of this size before so it was definitely an eye opener. My experience that day was so rewarding.
What made the day for me was watching these kids who come from harsh backgrounds out on the field enjoying themselves having a blast playing soccer. These kids don’t have much where they are from and it seemed like for the time that they were at the community center playing soccer all their other problems went away; that they were able to have a place to escape reality and enjoy being a kid. Helping these kids out, giving them meals and snacks to eat all while playing some soccer was an awesome experience and I can’t wait for the next event.
The Coca-Cola Foundation recently announced grants to organizations across Georgia, including a $75,000 award to Soccer in the Streets. The grant will expand opportunities for Atlanta youth to participate in sports based youth development programming.
Soccer in the Streets works with over 1,300 Atlanta youth at metro schools, community centers, parks, and the City of Atlanta recreation centers. Participants develop character traits, learn specialized skills, and gain employment experience through programming centered on soccer training sessions and matches.
Joe Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Soccer in the Streets, said, “We are very excited to be part of The Coca-Cola Company’s major initiative to fight obesity and support physical activity programming. “It will allow us to deliver programming to more of Atlanta’s young people who otherwise would not have access to such programs.”
"Together with Governor Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed, we are inspiring our hometown of Atlanta and home state of Georgia to be active," said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. In addition to the grant to Soccer in the Streets, the Coca-Cola Foundation is supporting statewide initiatives like Georgia SHAPE and city initiatives like the City of Atlanta Centers of Hope program.
125 adults participated in the 3rd Atlanta Champions League at Grady High School Stadium on May 5th, enjoying a four-hour sunny spell during the wettest weekend of 2013.
The law firm Greenberg Traurig was our major sponsor as 8 teams representing major European clubs battled to win trophies for raising the most money and winning the 7v7 tournament.
First-time entrant Paris St. Germain deservedly beat Manchester United in the final. Liverpool players won prizes for having raised more than $7,000 as a team.
As usual, the proceedings were overseen by our excellent commentator and master of ceremonies John Curran and the after-party continued across the street at Park Tavern.
Thank you to all of the participants and to the sponsors who contributed to us exceeding our expectations and raising over $39,000 from the event. Sponsors also included PM Publicidad, The Brewhouse Café, Meehans Downtown, Sun Microstamping, La Grotta Restaurant, RiRa, Midway Pub, realtor AtlantaBen, and chiropractor Back-to-Basics.
Thank you also to board member Bill Ford who chaired the event committee. We now look forward to our 5th annual Black Tie Soccer Game, also at Grady Stadium on Sunday October 6th.