Street Soccer Canada began as an initiative by housing advocate Paul Gregory to put together one team for the Homeless World Cup in 2004. It’s now a thriving network of over 20 soccer programs in a dozen cities across the country. London would like to add its' name to the city roster!
Over those last 10 years, hundreds of marginalized individuals living in shelters or on the street have been given a chance to be part of a team. Sometimes, all it takes is one small step to get the ball rolling—through the positive inﬂuences of physical exercise and new friendships, Street Soccer Canada is helping people move past life’s more dire circumstances and make a play for their goals.
A few months back we decided to see if we could run this program in London - we received permission from the BMO Centre in London to use their field as a trial basis to see if we could garner some attention. We contacted folks at the Salvation Army Centre of Hope and they were in total support, agreeing to assist with transport etc. We had some flyers made up and posted them in some local shelters and left some with different community orgs.
At our very first session on Monday, June 1st - we saw one person come out - then the following week two came - at the end of July we were seeing more then 20 individuals every week and the number is growing! We have received some very generous equipment donations and additional gear (cleats etc for the players).
Mid July we took a dozen players to the Street Soccer Canada tournament hosted by the City of Hamilton. The players participating, most in their first ever organized sports event. While there the players were housed, fed and provided a ticket to a Pan Am soccer game. For our folks this was an absolutely incredible experience, one most noted they would never forget.
We KNOW this program will continue to be successful we just need a bit of a helping hand at the moment.
Funded by London, ON (September 2015)