Street Soccer USA competed in National Cup with Fair Trade Soccer Balls, provided by Berkeley-based Senda Athletics.
The 6th Annual Street Soccer USA National Cup took place at the San Francisco Civic Center August 15th and 16th of this year, with a total of 22 soccer teams composed of homeless men and women from 16 cities. Street Soccer USA operates programs within these cities, training homeless youth and adults year-round in preparation for the event. Street Soccer USA, a national non-profit, is committed to utilizing sweatshop-free Fair Trade Certified soccer balls.
Senda provided the official match balls, and educated consumers on-site about the positive economic opportunity of Fair Trade for ball producers in Pakistan.
Senda and the San Francisco chapter of Street Soccer USA have enjoyed a partnership spanning across 4 years, with both organizations committed to improving the lives of at-risk and homeless youth and adults in San Francisco. Working together, Senda Athletics provided much needed soccer balls and gear while the SF nonprofit chapter helped promote Fair Trade in the local community. The National Cup is a tremendous opportunity for both organizations to expand their partnership nationally and create a greater impact.
"Street Soccer USA has a proven model, with over 75% success rate in connecting homeless young adults to education, employment and housing. We are proud to have our company play a role in leveraging the game of soccer to raise awareness about the issues of poverty both at home and abroad” said Santiago Halty, CEO of Senda Athletics. “As a social enterprise, we want to innovate and build socially-focused sponsorship models that allocate resources where they are can make the most impact; Street Soccer USA is a perfect fit!” Halty concluded.
A similarly positive message is conveyed by Rob Cann, COO of Street Soccer USA, stating,“We are extremely proud to partner with Senda. We work to develop the game of soccer to create safe, healthy communities where everyone has a place to call home, and using Fair Trade certified soccer balls aligns with that mission".
The National Cup was open to the public, and thousands of soccer fans and tourists stopped by to watch the competition and support the players. The event also provided a platform from which homeless players could share their achievements, offer support to others, and vie for a spot on the SSUSA National Team roster for the 2015 Homeless World Cup, taking place in Amsterdam this September.
The Street Soccer USA National Cup was a memorable event for all of us at Senda. It was particularly special to be paired with the charismatic and talented St. Louis team, and to learn how soccer is helping them overcome poverty and homelessness. This is exactly what playing for change looks like, and we would like to thank our brothers and sisters from Street Soccer USA in St. Louis and across the country. To put it simply: you are an inspiration!