StreetSoccer945 Goes From Number 8 to Number 1!
That was the email our staff got this morning from StreetSoccer945 (SS945) Coach Peter Fink – and yes, there were four exclamation points. He’s excited, as are we, that this team prevailed in the coed Sportslink league they’ve been playing in on Wednesday evenings. The season started with a goal of having fun and everyone receiving equal playing time. The first several games were losses, but no one seemed to care—there was good team spirit and lessons being learned. The mindset led to a couple of wins at the end of the season, and provided the catalyst for the new playoff attitude: play to win. Pete began coaching, relying on the lessons already reinforced over the previous weeks (Facing Reality/Acceptance, Accountability, Knowing Your Role).
Seeded 8 out of 9 teams, SS945 was required to win a play-in game to even enter the tournament—they did (3-0). Next up, the number 1 seed. No problem—tied until the last two minutes, they upset number 1: 5-4! Rolling through the semi’s (5-3), last night’s game started like the beginning of the season, in the hole. Down 0-2, SS945 finally scored a goal and then the turning point came: the SS945 goalie save a penalty kick – momentum was finally on their side and SS945 won the championship game 4-3.
Members of the team are homeless (7 in shelters now), formerly homeless, or volunteers from the community. SS945 helps players transition out of homelessness and many today are finding work and holding down jobs. The curriculum used in practice leads players to examine choices and think ahead. Each practice contains a focused lesson, a team building exercise, soccer drills and games modified to include/highlight the day’s lesson, and a closing discussion where all can share how the lesson can be demonstrated in their own lives. The mix of neighbors and volunteers brings a greater community and value to all.
Players are outfitted by Umbro and play against other soccer teams who often do not know the circumstances of the SS945 players. After games, Brixx provides pizza and the team sits around talking about the game, and anything else that’s on their mind. That’s Pete’s favorite part of SS945. They are just a team. Friends. A Community. And the circumstances that brought them all together don’t matter at that moment.
Street Soccer is powerful. It promotes personal growth, teamwork in a much broader sense, and opens possibilities. Charlotte and the Urban Ministry Center are the birthplace for StreetSoccerUSA, now with 20 affiliates across the country. Teams from these cities will come together July 27-29th in New York City to compete in the USA Cup. The Homeless World Cup will follow in October in Mexico City. How powerful for someone who is living at a shelter to be able to travel to NYC or Mexico. It opens one’s eyes to a global view and motivates people to make changes—Pete has the stories to prove it. Maybe you will hear a couple when you get involved. . .
Tuesday Night Kick Arounds start May 23rd and everyone is welcome to participate. A half-hour lesson is followed by soccer scrimmages and personal discussions of the evening’s lesson. Watch the SS945 webpage for more information about the Kick Arounds or the Royal Court, SS945’s fan club.
During the last eight weeks, Tuesday night easily became my favorite time of the week for StreetSoccer 945—it is when we got together for our...
The Maxwell House Drops of Good Renovation video for Urban Ministry Center has been posted! ...
Hello, and welcome to the new UMC blog! This is where you can hear about the SABER grad who's come back to visit after 4 years of being sober and doin...
Anything with Operation preceding it sounds like a military action, right?! Well, this is not KP duty, soldier, this is Operation Sandwich and...
“Welcome Home” reads the sign in John’s new home. It was made for him by a group of elementary school students, one of the several groups that have he...