Red Bulls star Dax McCarty hosted inaugural soccer match as community leaders committed to provide local youth including HELP USA residents a safe & accessible place to play. Speakers included Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna
Field ribbon cutting ceremony with: Ed Foster-Simeon, U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO (center); Dr. Tom Hameline, President & CEO of HELP USA (sitting center); community leaders and local youth including HELP USA residents.
Photo Credit: Donnie Nicholson
Yesterday, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, HELP USA and Street Soccer USA unveiled a state-of-the-art street soccer field in Brooklyn, NY to many of the local youth who live in the HELP USA facilities. HELP USA is a national supportive housing developer and homeless services organization. Once a vacant lot, the new field provides more than 300 local youth a safe and accessible place to play within the community. The field will also be used as a site to deliver the sport-based youth development program, Soccer for Success – created by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and delivered by Street Soccer USA. Street Soccer USA is a national nonprofit that utilizes soccer as development curriculum to provide a positive environment for youth in underserved communities as well as homeless and at risk young adults. The U.S. Soccer Foundation, a major charitable arm of soccer in the United States, is also a leader in sports-based youth development and strives to use soccer as a vehicle for social change among youth in urban areas across the country.
“As a proud native son of East New York, I applaud everyone who helped create this wonderful soccer pitch,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. “Mayor de Blasio is committed to making sure all New Yorkers have access to safe places to play, learn and grow. In the weeks and months to come we will be working closely with members of the community to create more resources for the residents of this great community.”
“HELP USA and Street Soccer USA are thrilled to collaborate with U.S. Soccer Foundation as they share in the mission to use sports to promote social change and a positive environment for at risk and homeless youth,” said Street Soccer USA Founder & President and HELP USA Director of Development and External Affairs, Lawrence Cann. “Over the past 18 months, the program has served 300 youth, while operating out of a small indoor multipurpose room in the HELP USA’s Genesis Homes. This brand new state-of-the art field allows us to better serve the community and continue our mission by creating a safe place to play.”
“HELP USA serves nearly 2,000 school age children each day with after school programming at its facilities,” said Dr. Tom Hameline, President & CEO of HELP USA. “It is an honor to partner with U.S. Soccer Foundation to enhance our efforts to develop sports based youth development programs. Activities that instill self-esteem and a drive to succeed are imperative to preventing homelessness in the next generation.”
The unveiling event featured an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting led by Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon, Dr. Tom Hameline President & CEO of HELP USA and Street Soccer USA Founder & President Lawrence Cann, and was followed by a Soccer for Success program demonstration and inaugural youth soccer match with Red Bulls star Dax McCarty and Cosmos players Erik Stover and Hunter Freeman.
In 2013, Street Soccer USA partnered with HELP USA to begin serving HELP residents in Brooklyn. For HELP USA, a long-time anchor of housing and services in East New York, the field furthers its mission to provide resources and positive programs that serve the community. Partners, including the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Medical Clinic and Thomas Jefferson High School, will integrate this sports-based youth development program into their existing programming.
The completion of the field is a continued effort by the U.S. Soccer Foundation to grow the game of soccer and utilize it as a vehicle for social change among youth in urban areas across the country. The Foundation’s Soccer for Success program is a nationally recognized free afterschool program that uses soccer as a tool to address children’s health issues and juvenile delinquency, while promoting healthy lifestyles in urban underserved communities. The Safe Places to Play program provides grants to organizations in order to help them build or enhance a field space, ensuring that children in underserved communities have safe and accessible places to play.
“The U.S. Soccer Foundation is honored for the opportunity to partner with Street Soccer USA and HELP USA on this project,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “It is our mission, much like the missions of Street Soccer USA and HELP USA, to make a difference in the lives of those in underserved communities, and we look forward to the impact this beautiful field will have in the Brooklyn community.”
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation:
The U.S. Soccer Foundation is a recognized leader in sports-based youth development programs for children in underserved, urban communities. Since its founding in 1994, the organization has provided more than $60 million in funding to create and sustain innovative programs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Proven to deliver positive health and social outcomes, the Foundation’s affordable initiatives offer safe environments in which both boys and girls thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Visit http://www.ussoccerfoundation.org to learn more.
About HELP USA:
HELP USA is a national supportive housing developer and homeless service organization. Since 1986, HELP has served more than 320,000 people, including veterans, families, and victims of domestic violence. Today HELP serves more than 20,000 each year at 39 residences and programs across the country. To date, HELP has developed more than 2,250 units of housing including transitional and permanent supportive service programs. For more information, please visit www.helpusa.org.
About Street Soccer USA:
Street Soccer USA is about sports for social change. Using our entrepreneurial instinct as well as evidence based practices, we make a measurable difference in the lives of underserved youth in urban areas and special needs populations, including homeless families, adults, people in recovery, among others. Our mission is to improve health, education, and employment outcomes for the most disadvantaged Americans by using sports to transfer the skills necessary so that they can achieve these outcomes for themselves. We also seek to raise awareness about the challenges of poverty in America so that as a country we can develop a more level playing field for all. To learn more, please visit http://streetsoccerusa.org/.