The TWO ONE: Street soccer flourishing in Vancouver neighborhoods
Yesterday, October 4, 2012, four players from the Vancouver Street Soccer League headed to Mexico to represent Canada’s men’s and women’s teams in the 2012 Homeless World Cup. Fabian from Woodwards FC, Rahul from Covenant House, Krista from Portland Phoenix FC, and Natasha from the North Shore Shields will be joined there by players from Kelowna, Comox Valley, Victoria, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.
Vancouver’s first street soccer team was created in 2008 and the league was born in 2009. The league has since been flourishing and has grown to encompass ten teams. The Vancouver Street Soccer League provides a number of people living on the streets with the opportunity to get involved in soccer and potentially better their lifestyles.
Some of the players have already had the amazing opportunity to join Team Canada at the previous three Homeless World Cups in Milan, Rio de Janeiro and Paris, where they have won the fair play award two out the last four years.
The above accomplishments, among many others, have also helped attract media coverage to the league, and has helped to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness in Vancouver.
President of the organization, Alan Bates, tells us the players describe representing Canada at an international tournament as an unbelievable experience. They state how special it is to meet people from all over the world who have shared some of their struggles and overcome some of the same obstacles.
Whitecaps FC have been a continual supporter of street soccer, and myself and our Vancouver Whitecaps FC men and women have played with and against many of the street soccer players. Through our support I have got to know a number of the homeless players, and we have been able to share our World Cup experiences and chat about how this game of soccer and how it has been so influential in our lives.
I wish each and every one of the players going to the World Cup all the very best and I look forward to getting on the field with the many homeless soccer players in the near future.