Street Soccer North of the Border

In July, two players, Elena and Carlos and two coaches, Conner and Chris from Street Soccer Seattle traveled to Comox, BC, Canada to participate in the Maple Pool Street Soccer Challenge. Street soccer skill, “Adjust Your Play” became a quick theme prior to the trip and making our way to Comox. Last minute, unavoidable work and enhanced ID’s not showing up dropped our roster from a full six, to two players. Additionally, full ferries, border crossing difficulties, late arrival at the hostel, and no cell service in Canada had SSS adjusting their plans on the fly.

As with life, obstacles arose, however it was amazing to see the team adjust for smooth travels and an awesome weekend. From Elena DJ’ing the whole car ride, to beautiful ferry rides, to trying to pronounce french, everyone had a blast. Furthermore, having such a small team, there was a great atmosphere to get to know each other better and share stories about what the past and goals moving forward.

The fun and the team building didn’t stop once the team hit the fields. SSS players and coaches continued to meet players, coaches, and residence from Comox, as well as the street soccer team from Kelowna. SSS played eight games, only losing one—a great tribute to all the hard work players and coaches have been committing to practices and games! Additionally, SSS brought the FUTCHI net to introduce to our new Canadian friends. Finishing the day with a big soccer game, a post tournament swim in the river, dinner, all with the other participants, we’d become one big family!

As always, it’s tough to say goodbye, but SSS is excited about the relationships we’ve made and continued with Canadian Street Soccer programs and are looking forward to having them join us here in Seattle sometime soon!

Showing up in Philadelphia

With all of last year’s players in stable housing and off the street, this year for Street Soccer Seattle has been focusing on bringing in new players as we continue to empower our current player to bigger goals. We developed and implemented a recruiting campaign to engage more homeless and continue spreading the word about our program to new and existing social service organizations in Seattle. Bringing in new players requires “Showing Up”, one of our eight street soccer skills. In “Showing Up”, time is important to building trust and being able to show up in so many places. We’ve expended a great foundation of social service relationships and recruited some amazing new players. Yet, it’s still a daily effort and focus.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to bring in enough players in enough time to send a team to Philadelphia for the annual Street Soccer USA Cup, where we’ve brought a team since 2010. However, our Program Director, Chris, decided to go on his own.

“I believe the SSUSA Cup is an important time to foster relationships with coaches, directors, and players from around the country, get to know players and other city programs’ strengths, and share and learn ways for us all to improve”

–Chris, SSS Program Director

Beyond engaging with players and hearing their stories, Chris also talked with program coaches and leads, targeting improvements methods he could bring back to Seattle to amp up our player recruitment and volunteer engagement. Themes such as Showing Up, creating extremely low-barrier engagement points, and staying present even when success isn’t immediate, affirmed and expanded on SSS’s current strategies.

Additionally, Chris heard and saw the impact SS cities have been able to have by expanding the demographics beyond what we typically serve in Seattle. This includes engaging more players from refugee and low-income communities, and youth, as well as maintaining strong ties with the homeless population.

From sharing a room with the Philadelphia team, going on an Amazing Race activity with the Sacramento Women and Twin Cities Men, to watching players shine on and off the pitch at the base of the famous Philadelphia Art Museum Steps, the weekend was inspiring as usual. We are excited to implement Chris’s insight and see even more impact on SSS players and our community!

Look Up – Reflecting On Our Success and Carrying the Momentum Forward

SSS Philly 2016

After three days of street soccer at the bottom Philadelphia’s Art Museum’s “Rocky” Steps in intense heat and humidity, the Street Soccer USA Cup is over, but will continue to be a lasting impression on the Empowerment FC team.

As the final SSUSA Cup of the two cup eligibility for each of our players, we took a chance before boarding our flight to reflect on what the players will take away from their experiences and how they will carry the momentum towards their goals, give back to future players, and grow Street Soccer Seattle.

Each player shared about his or her biggest growth through the Cup and Street Soccer Seattle’s program as well as experiences that have empowered him or her throughout the program. The stories and growth each shared was extremely motivating and prompted a lot of discussion on how each player can use these experiences and stories to help empower the next generation and break the barriers of homelessness.

Players expressed finding confidence through street soccer Seattle and now being able to use that to meet new people, feel comfortable about themselves, and obtain their goals. Having something to look forward on a weekly basis that makes them happy and encourages through phases of homelessness, loneliness, and depression was also shared as the result of Street Soccer Seattle. Furthermore, Street Soccer Seattle has given our players a place for community and opportunity to get to know players in the same situation as them.

The conversations were very motivating to the players themselves and to our organization and the ability to impact their lives through soccer. 

At the beginning of the tournament, the team set goals to keep each other motivated, be positive, meet and get to know each other and use this opportunity to keep momentum for SSS building. As with any goal in life, these were not easy to accomplish throughout the weekend, but our players consciously worked hard day in and day out to meet these goals and we are very proud of each of them.

Robert Take the Space

Excitingly, Robert received the SSUSA Take the Space award. This award is given to a player who took control of his or her goals and jumped on every opportunity to progress forward, with a committed and driven mentality. Robert stood out amongst all the players around the country due to his determination and productive actions to over come obstacles in the past months and earn his spot on the Street Soccer Seattle team and in a housing program. Stay tuned for a post-tournament interview with Robert to hear more about his journey!

SSUSA National Team 2016

Additionally, Ryan was selected as an alternate for the SSUSA National Cup team that will compete at the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. Ryan’s un wavering commitment to his job at PCC, his progress to live independently, and hid drive to increase his responsibilities at PCC and further his education make him an extremely deserving player. We are excited to watch him represent Seattle and The United States during International Duty.

Check out all the photos of our activities and feel free to drop words of encouragement to our players on our Facebook page!

Teammates That Share Your Struggles – William

“It’s Rocky! He never gave up. He was getting his butt kicked and like nah. Made a punching bag of him and he never gave up.”

In August William’s step dad passed away and it affected him to the point where he wanted to comit suicide. It tore a hole in him, but he didn’t know what was missing and how to cope.

Luckily, with the motivation and confident William attributes to his involvement with Street Soccer Seattle, instead of excluding himself in his room, he took it upon himself to be around people that motivate you, looking to his Street Soccer team. He states the two Street Soccer Skills: Take the Space and Look up, have been a huge foundation for getting through the hard time.

A teammate had been through a similar situation before and helped William to understand what he was feeling and how to cope.

“Street Soccer Seattle was the best way to cope with it, helping me to be better.”

When asked about his Street Soccer experience, William immediately responded, “Best experience of my life!”

“The whole thing. Playing in highschool, it wasn’t as impactful as being able to play with people who knew what you were going through. In high school I wasn’t going home to a family, I was going home to a dad that was cracked out and my mother was in a similar state. Other players where going home to something better.

“Now my teammates have felt the same way I felt. Like I would go home and get a whooping for no reason and players on SSS know that feeling and I can relate.”

“I Play For motivation and confidence”

Before Street Soccer Seattle, William had no motivation to do anything besides just going to work and going home. With that, his social life was so bad. “I had no confidence to talk to no body” he reveals.

“After this I feel cofident to talk to people and have more friend. I’m much happier.”


“I Learned to Laugh” – Elena’s Street Soccer Seattle Story

Last night at the tournament welcome dinner, Street Soccer Seattle’s very own Elena shared some of her Street Soccer Seattle story. We are very proud of Elena’s bravery to share in front of players and supporters, as well as her continued progress towards her goals even amongst obstacles. Take a chance to hear how Street Soccer Seattle has made an impact on Elena’s life.

“Street Soccer is not just a game of soccer, it is way much more than that. It’s a place to grow, a place to make changes. a place to be safe and a place to build a community. When I first joined street soccer Seattle I was homeless and I didn’t have really any much hope in my future. I had never really played any soccer prior to joining Street Soccer Seattle, nor knew much about the game of soccer in itself.

I remember showing up to practice scared and nervous, not sure of what I was getting myself into. Feeling very intimidated when I looked around and saw that it was mostly guys and the skills they had with the ball. Yet still very intimidated I stuck around. And I am proud that I did.

Through Street Soccer I have learned to build a community through my teammates and coaches. I have learned to laugh and trust my coaches as well as my teammates. Street Soccer isn’t just about kicking a ball around on a field and winning the matches that we play. It is about communicating and working together.

I started using Street Soccer as something to look forward to at the end of my week. It gave me hope and a goal to work towards while being homeless. I used Street Soccer to release my stress. Every time I kicked the ball I felt my anger disappear. I learned to laugh and be myself. I learned that Street Soccer was a place to have fun. Through the skills of Look Up, Adjust Your Play and Take the Space, I learned that those skills were not just applied on the field but they were used in my everyday life.

Street Soccer has taught me more then just about soccer it has taught me a lot about myself. My first tournament with my team was to San Francisco, California. When we arrive to San Francisco, California I was very scared and nervous but very surprised at how welcoming everyone was to each other.

I remember the first night where we had dinner together and when a young gal stood up and talked about Street Soccer and the changes it had made in her life. I remember listening and realizing that I could relate to her story. Through out the tournament I met some awesome people, as well as, made some great friends. I realized that everyone was in a similar situation that I was in and that Street Soccer was in fact more than just a game of ball. It was a family inside itself.

Street Soccer has this phrase ‘I Play For’. When I first was asked what I play for, I thought health and hope. If you were to ask me that question now my answer would be for motivation and community. Motivation to change my life, motivation to learn, and continue to build healthy communities, motivation to spread the word around in my community about Street Soccer and what it has to offer and what an impact it has made in my life!”

– Elena (Street Soccer Seattle Player)

Introducing Seattle’s National Cup Team for Philadelphia 2016!!

Street Soccer Seattle has landed in Philadelphia for our seventh Street Soccer USA Cup and it is with great excitement that we introduce the five deserving players and our two coaches!

Each player has worked extremely hard all year long, on and off the field to earn his or her spot to represent Seattle in Philadelphia. Securing nightly and stable housing, finding and keeping jobs, overcoming mental health obstacles, navigating relationship issues and furthering their education are just a few of the off field goals our players daily strive for and have found success in.

For them, Street Soccer Seattle is a constant in their chaotic world. In Street Soccer, players have found a supportive community, motivation to be their best self. Through Street Soccer we are able to be a vehicle for change directly to people struggling from homelessness and in turn, the players infiltrate change into their communities and beyond.

Throughout the year, we play under the name Momentum FC, building momentum towards life goals. At the SSUSA Cup we play under Empowerment FC and our players show nothing less than that, empowering themselves and empowering everyone else!

They are:

Robert, Carlos, Ryan, Elena, William, Coach Conner, and Coach Chris!
Robert, Carlos, Ryan, Elena, William, Coach Conner, and Coach Chris!

Throughout our weekend, Street Soccer Seattle’s team will get the chance to test our work on the field, but more excitingly, hang out with the greater Street Soccer family and explore a new city. Fallow along with all the action on our website for player interviews and daily updates or on our Facebook page for more frequent access our fun on and off the field.

Ending homelessness is a team effort. If you have any words of encouragement for the team, email Thank you for your support, it continues to motivate our players!

Win a Trip to Mexico City with Sounders FC and Street Soccer Seattle

Soccer opens up a world of possibilities. Imagine spending an afternoon in Mexico City with former Sounders FC star Gonzalo Pineda, using the game to engage and inspire youth from marginalized communities. Next travel to Estadio Azteca, one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world and host to two World Cup finals, to watch Sounders FC take on Club America in the second leg of the CONCACAF quarterfinals. This could be your reality. Here’s how:

The Opportunity

Like last year’s CONCACAF-inspired efforts in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the Champions League quarterfinals provide not only an opportunity to showcase world-class soccer, but also a chance to celebrate the game’s inherent power as a catalyst for positive change.

Once again Sounders FC is teaming up with Seattle International Foundation (SIF) to send fans to Mexico City to participate in community-building activities leading into the Sounders FC Champions League quarterfinal match versus Club America.

Sounders FC and SIF will work locally with Street Soccer Seattle and abroad with Street Soccer Mexico to reinforce each organization’s collective mission to leverage the game of soccer to empower homeless youth. Outreach efforts will include youth clinics in Seattle and Mexico City, as well as financial commitments to support long-term community interventions in each region. Former Sounders FC star and Mexican International Gonzalo Pineda will be on hand in Mexico City to inspire youth clinic participants.

Sounders FC is seeking passionate soccer fans and global citizens to join in these efforts and win a trip of a lifetime.

Here’s how to win

Follow the link below to support Sounders FC and SIF outreach efforts in Seattle and Mexico City. Proceeds go to Street Soccer Seattle and Street Soccer Mexico’s programs to positively affect homeless youth in their regions. Each $10 contributed to the campaign will generate one entry for a chance to win a trip for two to join Sounders FC in Mexico City. Entries to win are limited to 10, but all participants are encouraged to contribute any amount seen fit.

A portion of the proceeds will cover Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle International Foundation’s travel expenses to Mexico City to engage Street Soccer Mexico and the homeless youth that they serve.

Winner will receive:

  • Two round-trip plane tickets to Mexico City, leaving Seattle Monday, February 29 and returning Thursday, March 3
  • Hotel accommodations in Mexico City for three nights, February 29-March 2
  • Opportunity to join former Sounders FC players Gonzalo Pineda and Roger Levesque in community outreach efforts
  • Transportation and tickets to Sounders FC Champions League match versus Club America
  • A once in a lifetime chance to use the game of soccer to create a lasting impact

Don’t want to travel to Mexico City? Make a contribution to the campaign and then donate your trip to Street Soccer Seattle, affording a once in a lifetime opportunity for underserved youth. Unable to contribute?  See below how you too can enter to win.

Give today!

Other ways to enter

No purchase necessary. To enter send your Name, Address, Phone Number and Email Address to 2016 Champions League Champions Sweepstakes, c/o Seattle Sounders FC, 159 South Jackson St., Suite 200, Seattle, Washington 98104. In all formats, entries that do not supply all requested information shall not be eligible. Entries limited to 10 by any method and must be received no later than 11:59p on Tuesday, February 23, 2016.

Contest Rules:

Manchester International Street Football Festival


At Street Soccer Seattle we are committed to improving our soccer based program to empower the homeless in Seattle and beyond. We are happy to work with others who share the same goals as us, such as our friends at England’s Homeless FA.

At the end of last year, during personal vacation in Europe, I attended the Homeless FA’s International Street Football Festival in Manchester, England. It was an amazing opportunity to collaborate and learn from how the English program empowers their players and to network with coaches from England, the Netherlands, Mexico, Portugal, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Here is a little recap of what I got to experience in Manchester:



Throughout the week, I spent a lot of my time sharing stories and experiences about homelessness and street soccer programs. Even though I see it through our players in Seattle, it is always extremely motivating to hear about how players are turning their lives around through street soccer. Furthermore, it was a great opportunity to network with coaches and mentors from England, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, sharing how we each bring success in our programs and identifying some ways we can be even more successful in Seattle. Weather it is in the Americas, Europe or beyond, ending homelessness is a team sport and I’m glad to have added so many great teammates to the team.

Real Skills FC Workshops

Real Skills

Each day players from England, the Netherlands, and Mexico, as well as referees from Portugal, sat down together to learn about relationships, teamwork, positivity, perspective, and communication. These skills and more are taught through soccer examples and discussions as part of the Homeless FA’s Real Skills For Change (FC) curriculum. It was great to see players share about the skills they could offer and how to improve their impact—even while overcoming language differences! I’m excited to start weaving some of what I learned into practices in Seattle.

Training Sessions


On the pitch, players battled with new friends, applied skills from the workshops, and honed their touches thanks to coaching led by former Homeless FA players who now have their coaching qualifications through Homeless FA programs. These training sessions were held at Floor Heaven of Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’ Hotel Football, overlooking Manchester United’s Old Trafford, and at the England National Team Headquarters at St. George’s Park, a place many Homeless FA players told me, “felt like home”!



Additionally, each day held more excitement for the players. Whether it was the unveiling of Homeless FA players’ recognition in the National Football Museum or walking in the footsteps of legends at Old Trafford or Etihad Stadiums, players experienced football at its finest in England. Furthermore, players had interviews and the opportunity to have their hair cut before a professional portrait in their national team uniforms.

The Tournament


Located in a reenergized warehouse in Old Trafford’s shadow, the final day gave players the opportunity to apply everything they have been working on. Although the players were all great friends now, you could see an added element of focus switched on for the tournament. Street Soccer Scotland also made the trip down for the day. After some great competition, Mexico won both the men’s and women’s tournaments. This, of course, was followed by a short dance party of all the teams in the middle of the court.