Whitecaps FC announced earlier this week that Alan Bates has been nominated for the 2012 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP award. Alan is representing the ‘Caps in the league wide contest. On the line is the grand prize of a $10,000 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice and a trip to the MLS All-Star game at PPL Park in Philadelphia. Bates, who sat in twelfth on Tuesday, has shot up the rankings to the sixth position with the help of ‘Caps supporters. However, he will need more fan votes to help propel him to victory. Fans can vote online at http://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsworks/community-mvp/vote. Fans can vote as many times as possible.
Alan Bates is a doctor in residency studying at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he has one year left until he finishes his doctorate in psychiatry. Bates who has studied the issue of homelessness and mental illness up close knew that something had to be done to help the most vulnerable. He became involved in the Vancouver Street Soccer League to try and provide some help to the most vulnerable population, some of have mental illnesses. The Vancouver Street Soccer League provides these individuals with a voice, while giving the participants an outlet to exercise in a safe and positive environment. The League has also provided its participants with a greater sense of community.
“My identity and self confidence came through playing soccer,” said Bates. “I thought what a better way to increase self-confidence through the power of sport, and that’s why the Vancouver Street Soccer League has been so successful.”
Bates coaches Portland FC, one of the nine member teams of the Vancouver Street Soccer League. Portland FC is made up of clients of the Portland Housing Society project and volunteers. Bates is not the only one who has seen the fruits of his labours pay off, as he along with colleagues from UBC have been able to conduct studies that have shown the positive impacts street soccer can have on the homeless population. Those positive impacts include helping people stay clean, finding jobs, and sustainable housing.
Bates truly got a once in a lifetime experience when he got to travel to Paris, France last year as Head Coach of the Canadian Men’s Street Soccer team for the Homeless World Cup. In Paris he saw first hand the positive impacts that the sport can have on the lives of individuals.
“Street soccer is a great form of therapy for many people, as it shows them there are so many positive outlets out there,” noted Bates.
“I’m hoping that the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP nomination brings increased awareness to the Vancouver Street Soccer League,” said Bates. “The Street Soccer League is all about community and that’s why there is a great tie-in with the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP award.”
Alan’s love for the sport of soccer and Whitecaps FC coupled with his passion for community and the issue of homelessness make him the perfect candidate for the 2012 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP award.
‘Caps fans make sure to vote for Alan http://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsworks/community-mvp/vote