I Play Because Cardboard Doesn’t Keep Out the Cold
Soccer is possibly one of the most physically exhausting sports known to mankind. Professional soccer
fields are often set to a minimum of ninety yards wide and over one hundred and twenty-five yards
Players are expected to sprint back forth across that field for a minimum of ninety minutes with very
few breaks. Aside from ultra-marathon runners, they might have bragging rights to having the most
Soccer Making a Difference
For some, it is just an amazing game to watch. For others, it is a tool to make a difference.
One group of people organized a league that is beginning to sweep the nation. Players in this league play
with blood, sweat and tears, like the professionals.
They are dedicated to their cause. They play to win, but not for the
reasons you might think.
Street Soccer USA is a national organization dedicated to a great
cause. The teams are made up of the men and women that call places
like the corner of Fifth and Main Street home.
Street Soccer USA is dedicated to getting the homeless out of the streets and into their new lives
through the great sport of soccer. Players in this league, play to win in their lives.
Soccer Setting Goals and Changing Lives
Street Soccer USA believes that if the can get the homeless involved in something bigger, they will find
the hope to improve their current living situations. Through this league, players are expected to
experience a change in social skills, self-esteem, physical/mental health, and barriers from employment.
The program seeks to make this change by having players do three things. First, they build trust and
community through the sport.
You can’t help but build unity and trust when part of a team. Second, players are required to set three,
six and twelve month life goals.
Marking a path for yourself gives you hope for a brighter future, one full of change and improvement.
Third, organizers seek to empower the participants by integrating clinical services into sports and
providing access to educational and career building opportunities.
It’s the support of people outside that help this organization to flourish. Chris Wondolowski pledged to
donate one hundred dollars to Street Soccer USA for every goal he makes in a professional game this
The organization as a whole is growing in twenty-one cities
scattered from the south-western tip of California to the
upper right reaches of Massachusetts. Each team plays in a
real street soccer league.
Just as international soccer leagues, teams that keep on
winning head to one major SSUSA Cup at the end of the
season. For six years the SSUSA Cup has been changing
It continues to gather media attention. Every extra hand of support reignites the life of those who
learned to have none.
Every pledge puts one more homeless brother or sister closer to a real home. And every player that
grasps a helping hand learns to believe in the most important thing again, themselves.
They are their greatest chance for living an improved life. They don’t play to win games.
They play because cardboard doesn’t keep the cold out. They play for HOPE.