Street Soccer Philadelphia
We Believe that Ending Homelessness is a Team Sport
Street Soccer USA 501(c)(3) (SSUSA) is an national non-profit organization that supports sport for social change programs in 20 cities across the country. SSUSA uses the power of soccer to help homeless men and women dramatically transform their lives. We utilize the power of sports, in this case soccer, to promote player development not merely on the field, but in every aspect of life.
SSUSA sees homelessness as the result of a breakdown of community. Rather than treating homelessness as a series of individuals with problems, we form and foster, through sports, a positive community for people who are homeless. SSUSA then uses this team platform to create a training curriculum of job preparation, life skills, and other specialized services, ultimately connecting participants directly to jobs, education, and housing.
Street Soccer Philly was founded in 2011 by dedicated volunteers who believe in the power of soccer to help homeless men. We are partnered with the Bethesda Project and work at the Our Brother's Place shelter at 10th and Hamilton in conjunction with engagement specialists and social workers. We practice twice a week at 8th poplar Wed and Sunday nights.
What Are We Playing For?
Each player who joins a Street Soccer team is asked the question, “What do you play for?” For many of our population this may be the first time in a long time that someone actually took time to ask this question and then listen to the answer. This question, as you can imagine, is not just about a player’s motivation to play soccer. It is about their aspirations in life; it is about facing what may have gone wrong and ultimately about creating a plan to make real and meaningful progress towards achieving their goals.
How Does It Work?
We train twice weekly, compete in community leagues with volunteers, and unite annually at our Street Soccer USA Cup. Players are encouraged to set 3, 6, and 12 month life goals, transforming the context in which they live from one of isolation and chaos to one of community, purpose, and achievement. By participating in the Street Soccer USA process, players improve social skills, self-esteem, physical/mental health, and eliminate barriers to employment, making them more likely to achieve housing/job placement that their peers
How can Street Soccer USA change a Homeless person’s life?
- Relationships: Many of our players have become isolated from friends and family. When a player joins a street soccer team, he or she becomes part of a family again.
- Teamwork: We train together, strive together, and above all else, we listen to each other. Powerful things happen when human beings put their differences aside and really communicate.
- Hope: Many of our players have lost faith in humanity through harsh living conditions on the streets or in shelters. Instead of focusing on being homeless, we focus on what players can do, both on the soccer and in life.
- Self-Esteem: Becoming a part of a street soccer team may be the first activity that does not remind our players that they are homeless. By showing our players what they can do, we provide a renewed positive outlook on life.