Hey everyone, it’s Michelle [ @SportSXMichelle ] from Twitter, and as promised I’m back over here at SI, to help you get infused! Today I would like to share about how Street Soccer USA hosted their third annual Times Square Cup on Sunday, July 12 in New York City, where more than 125,000 spectators attended. The event was supported by New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, UNIQLO, New York Cosmos, TAG Heuer and other program partners.
It was my pleasure to take time out to talk with Lawrence Cann a few days before the event to learn how he believes a sense of belonging for those who may be homeless and also considered at-risk youth and adults are benefiting from the programs offered by Street Soccer USA. This was the first ever team sporting event hosted in the heart of the city. The following information was shared with me after the event, and it’s my pleasure to share it here, so that you can become inspired by not only those who are helping others to regain their sense of belonging within a community, but also be inspired by the players.
“This event raises awareness through soccer as a vehicle to help build a support system, teaching invaluable life skills that will help homeless regain employment, housing and relationships,” says Carlos Menchaca, New York City Council Member. “We are proud to support Street Soccer USA and look forward to seeing a positive impact in our community.”
32 teams (ages 16 and older) competed in front of 125,000 spectators throughout the day in a pop-up stadium on the 42nd/43rd St. Plaza in New York City. Also, 10 youth and adult teams from SSUSA’s social programs participated in the tournament.
Teams were geared up with inspirational jerseys by leading apparel brand UNIQLO. SSUSA’s messaging was highlighted through custom crests on jerseys that define why program participants play the game. They included change, character, confidence, dignity, empowerment, family, hope, independence, integrity, loyalty, opportunity, peace, possibility, pride, respect, strength, structure, support and unity.
One of North America’s most iconic professional soccer teams – the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League — entered a front office staff and supporters team. Its first team leading goal-scorer, Lucky Mkosana, and striker, Mads Stokkelien, were both in attendance.
The tournament featured two 52 foot by 72 foot street soccer courts with four foot walls and 12 foot by four foot goals. Games were high-paced and featured teams from Brazil, Italy, Mexico and across the U.S. who battled all day to be crowned the lone champion of New York City.
At the event’s welcoming ceremony, official time keeper of the Times Square Cup, TAG Heuer, recognized New York Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty with the “Sport for Social Change” award, presenting a special watch in honor of his commitment to using soccer as a force for good in society.
In addition to NYC, SSUSA oversees programs in other 15 U.S. cities which use soccer to build safe, healthy communities. Since its inception, the organization has reached over 3,000 at-risk and homeless youth and adults through partnership with over 20 social service partner agencies. SSUSA’s program has seen impressive results with more than 75 percent of participants connecting jobs and furthering education or employment within a year of joining.
More information: www.streetsoccerusa.org.
About Street Soccer USA
Street Soccer USA (SSUSA), a 501(c)3 organization and an affiliate of HELP USA, is a national sport development program for social change in 16 cities across the United States. Teams train and compete in local leagues and work through a special curriculum of life and job skills.
SSUSA uses soccer as a team sport to help adults and youths overcome poverty and homelessness. Players commit to change their lives by setting three, six, and 12-month personal goals. By creating a team environment that is fun, positive, and universal, participants are provided with a family support group to build relationships of trust and stability. Players are challenged by personal motives and team expectations to advance individual character, confidence and hope.
More information: www.streetsoccerusa.org.
About UNIQLO and Fast Retailing
UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells clothing under seven main brands: Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, Theory, and UNIQLO. With global sales of approximately 1.38 trillion yen for the 2014 fiscal year ending August 31, 2014 (US $13.6 billion, calculated in yen using the annual average exchange rate to the end of August 2014 of $1 = 101.5 yen), Fast Retailing is one of the world’s largest apparel retail companies, and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer.
UNIQLO continues to open large-scale stores in some of the world’s most important cities and locations, as part of its ongoing efforts to solidify its status as a truly global brand. Today the company has a total of more than 1,500 stores in 16 markets worldwide including Japan, Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and the U.S. In addition, Grameen UNIQLO, a social business established in Bangladesh in September 2010, currently operates several Grameen UNIQLO stores in Dhaka. UNIQLO manages an integrated business model under which it designs, manufactures, markets and sells high-quality, casual apparel. The company believes that truly great clothes should be supremely comfortable, feature universal designs, are of high quality and offer a superb fit to everyone who wears them.
With a corporate statement committed to changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world, Fast Retailing is dedicated to creating great clothing with new and unique value to enrich the lives of people everywhere. For more information about UNIQLO and Fast Retailing, please visit www.uniqlo.com and www.fastretailing.com.
About The New York Cosmos
The New York Cosmos began play in 1971, spending 14 seasons in the North American Soccer League, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer to the USA. This included Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto. It had been nearly 30 years since the Cosmos, an iconic global soccer club, have played in a professional league. Yet throughout their absence, the club maintained a loyal and dedicated fan following.
On Aug. 3, 2013, the New York Cosmos returned to the NASL with a sell-out win at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, before embarking on a season that would see the Cosmos win the 2013 North American Soccer League Fall Season. The club closed out its inaugural season by winning the 2013 Soccer Bowl with a 1-0 victory against the Atlanta Silverbacks on Nov. 9, 2013 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, GA. The championship is the sixth NASL title in the club’s history.
The Cosmos also submitted a privately-funded economic development proposal in 2013 to the State of New York to build a world-class 25,000-seat professional soccer stadium at Belmont Park. More information about the proposal and renderings can be found at www.newcosmosstadium.com.
For more information on the New York Cosmos, please visit www.newyorkcosmos.com, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @NYCosmos. Season tickets for the 2015 season are also now available by calling 855 712 6766 or via the club’s official website.
About TAG Heuer
The Swiss Avant-Garde watchmaker since 1860. Its rich heritage is built on pushing boundaries and breaking rules: harnessing mental fortitude to overcome technology restraints and create daring watches and chronographs. Long-lasting partnerships with motor racing teams and charismatic ambassadors drive it to break with watchmaking conventions, and, as a consequence, master time with unparalleled precision. The brand’s motor racing DNA, as well as the amazing athletes who belong to its dream team, reflect its core values of teamwork, mental strength, courage and ambition. Its slogan, DON’T CRACK UNDER PRESSURE, is far more than a claim–it is a mindset.
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