Categories
News

“Street Soccer changed my world.” | Jose’s story

Jose joined Street Soccer London at an uncertain time in his life and after grasping every opportunity over the last two years, he’s loving life in his dream job.

“Before coming to Street Soccer London, I was in a hostel for two years at Camberwell, Centrepoint. I wasn’t working and I wasn’t really doing anything due to the lockdowns. After a while, I luckily got a house in the area and found Street Soccer London. I was extremely grateful to secure a coaching role with SSL, which was massive for me – having no qualifications or experience.

Street Soccer kept me strong and grounded. They helped me pursue my dream career which was to become an electrician, which is going well and I love doing so much. I get to go back to the kids and let them know that they can do anything they wish to be and that alone means the world to me.”

It’s a bittersweet feeling for both Jose and his peers. By securing a new apprenticeship, he isn’t able to spend as much time at sessions, where he is extremely popular with players and staff. Although, despite his life has taken him down a new path, he is certain that football will continue to help him push boundaries.

“Football for me growing up was an escape. My parents weren’t around, so every day after school I wanted to be outside with my friends. You’re never alone in the football world and that’s what is so special. There is always someone who wants you to do well or wants you to flourish. Football has given me a place of safety and a sense of belonging. It’s given me the chance to make a lot of friends and I am who I am today due to my determination and willpower and I developed that thanks to football.”

Jose has started a new electrician apprenticeship

Despite having little experience in coaching, Jose was given the opportunity to join the team at Street Soccer and hasn’t looked back since. He highlights how this was more than just a job, with strong relationships with the rest of the team developing across time.

“When I first joined the team, I was very nervous, very scared. I had to deal with kids who had maybe been through the same experiences as me, so I didn’t want to let them down. I was very excited but very nervous to start with as everything was very new to me. However, Street Soccer London were very welcoming and I fitted in perfectly.

Being part of Street Soccer London has been a great experience. The staff were always so supportive, always cheering for me. They have given me a great opportunity and made me feel so welcome. They are always saying how proud they are and I really value that, as I don’t always feel acknowledged in that way. I love being part of that team and we are all together in helping creating change.”

Jose visiting SSL, to the delight of the players.

Jose admits that before joining Street Soccer, he struggled with confidence and would have described himself as a ‘quiet guy’. Fast forward two years and the same description does not apply.

“I knew I had to come out my shell when I got this opportunity. I got to a stage where I knew I had to open up. I had a great opportunity and I had no excuse. I needed to be someone these kids looked up. They needed someone to speak to. It was hard to build that trust with them and to be their coach, but I was determined.

Every session was my favourite for me but a highlight had to be when we visited Crystal Palace with the U16s to participate in a tournament. To be able to have the chance to lead a team there was big for me – I felt like a real coach! Our team done really well and won their tournament, so it was great to see all the kids so happy, some of them had never won a medal before. The fact I got to give some of them a nice experience was amazing.”

Jose is excited about what the future holds, with a career as an electrician lined up and a football family behind him for support, he’s in a good place. He believes that by helping young players with positive choices, more dreams can be achieved.

“I am missing being at Street Soccer but I know the kids are in great hands. Jack, Laura and Yasin are amazing with them and are so supportive. I’ll miss seeing the kids grow and seeing their smiles on the pitch.

Street Soccer has given me a dream, which has changed my world. By focusing on the small things and building up confidence, they’ve let me believe that I can change the world and I know that they are having a great impact with everyone else too.”

If you are interested in supporting Street Soccer London, please contact Laura Foster on laura@streetsoccerscotland.org.

Categories
News Team England

Team England ready for action in Dundee

Street Soccer London will once again be proudly representing Team England on its travels, with a men’s and women’s squad on its way to Dundee for the Street Soccer Nations Cup.

The Nations Cup was created to give player an opportunity to represent their country and connect with like-minded people from across the globe. For many, this experience may be life-changing and will highlight the power that sport has to influence and make tangible, positive change. 

We believe that by uniting, coming together and sharing these experiences, we can offer connection, hope, happiness and build self-belief. The tournament will feature sixteen teams in a four-a-side format.

The event will take place on City Square in Dundee and will be free to attend. Find out more here.

This years Team England squad is made up players from Street Soccer London programmes and Comfort Angels from Liverpool.

Comfort Angels is a women’s football team in Merseyside that works primarily with refugees. Comfort Angels provides much-needed support by bringing communities together and offering a safe space for women to express themselves freely.

The players selected will have the opportunity to create long-lasting relationships and be part of an event that aims to change perceptions. Proudly sponsored by Bridges Impact Foundation and supported by Bridges Outcomes Partnerships. We are also delighted to have London North Eastern Railways on board to sponsor the team.

Women’s squad: Kate Mbonu, Soghra Baghen, Olaitan Adesina, Mansura Veyisova, Gladys Kenyon, Anjali Agrawal, Wubalem Tsegay, Angelica Almeida.

Coaches for the tournament are Ellie Fox and Amaneh Sodeghian.

Men’s squad: Ernest Arhin, Tensae Birhan, Amin Mohammed, Ashley Trundley, Ali Abdul, Mohammed Adllan, Izzeldin Adam, Selim Jaber.

Coaches for the tournament will be Yasin Ali, Frankie Jumes, Jack Badu and Laura Foster.

Categories
News Team England

Street Soccer bring Nations Cup event to Dundee

Street Soccer Scotland will be hosting a small-sided international football tournament in Dundee, this September.

The event aims to provide an opportunity for players from Street Football projects across the globe to represent their country in our inaugural small-sided tournament. The event will aim to create life changing experiences for players, highlighting the power that sport has to influence positive change.

The Nations Cup will be held at City Square in Dundee City Centre across the weekend of Friday September 9th to Sunday 11th.

Supported by the Scottish Government and Dundee City Council, Street Soccer London are delighted to be involved in the event which aims to challenge public perception of some of the social issues that our players face and break down the stigma in order to provide better quality support.

As well as the tournament itself, the event will have live music and host a number of organisations working in social impact, to underline the power of community in the city.

David Duke, Founder and CEO of Street Soccer Scotland and Street Soccer London, said “We are delighted and also grateful that Dundee City will host our first ever Nations Cup as we invite our friends and colleagues from various projects around the world. The Street Soccer Nations Cup will more than a football event. It is an opportunity for players to represent their country and have a life changing experience. The matches will be exciting and we hope to create a real carnival atmosphere for spectators whilst highlighting the power of football.”

With invitational tournaments taking place across the globe from Street Football projects, Street Soccer Scotland will be hosting its first ever Nations Cup tournament, with eight participating nations across 16 teams.

Street Soccer Scotland will be joined by Street Soccer London’s Team England as well as guests from Wales and Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Ivory Coast. Street Soccer Scotland will also be including an Afghanistan team selected from its programmes.

The tournament will be played in a group stage format, with 8 male and 8 female teams. Played across three days of action on a four a side pitch, the tournament will split in to two separate knockout rounds after the group stage, with every match lasting 14 minutes.

Utilising Street Soccer’s multi-purpose community hub, Change Centre Dundee, as a player village throughout the event, Street Soccer will allow players to access further support and participate in educational experiences across the weekend, with catering and entertainment planned in too.

This event will be completely free to attend and is totally inclusive for guests of all ages. With two grand stands, food stalls and an entertainment stage, Street Soccer aims to create a memorable experience for everyone attending.

To find out more about the event, please visit streetsoccerscotland.org/ss-nations-cup

Categories
News

Jack wins role model award

Street Soccer London were delighted to be part of the inaugural Level the Playing Field Awards at Decathlon on Saturday night, with Programme Co-ordinator, Jack Badu, picking up an award for his work across London.

Jack was named joint-winner of the Specialist Role/Role Model award, recognising his immense work with young players in our programmes. Jack has been a full-time member of staff since we started in 2020 and is central to all of our programme delivery at the Black Prince Trust hub in Lambeth.

A role model to many of our younger players, Jack primarily leads on sessions, delivery in local schools with Tender as well as leading. on the introduction of the ‘Boot Room’, which has allowed players to focus on personal development off-the-pitch. This has been a crucial progression of our work in Lambeth and hope this can be a tool that continues to support our players in the community.

Jack’s colleague Laura Foster, Head of Partnerships at SSL, joined him on Saturday evening and underlined the impact Jack has had on players across Street Soccer programmes.

“The unique way Jack coaches and facilitates has undoubtedly led to the success of this programme over the past three years. Anyone who works in the field knows how difficult it can be to deliver day in day out, sessions, spaces and opportunities which keep young people engaged and returning week after week. The reality of successfully creating this environment is much harder than it appears.

“Without inspiring male role models like Jack who strike the perfect balance between coach, confidante and role model, projects like this would not have the wide-reaching and long-term success that we are seeing for the young people who attend, even into their young adult lives.”

Jack is very much looking forward to the future, acknowledging that partnership work, such as that with Level the Playing Field, has helped elevate Street Soccer Programmes.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to work with the staff team here at Street Soccer London. Being considered a role model means a lot to me and I hope our young leaders do the same in the future. Working with LTPF has given us the opportunity to connect with great organisations across England. This helps us ensure we’re creating a positive environment for young people to grow.”

If you would like to learn more about what we do, you can get in touch with staff at info@streetsoccerlondon.org or find out more online.

Well done, Jack!

Categories
Uncategorized

Power of partnerships: Met Police

Over the past twelve months, Street Soccer London has been linking up with influential partners in the local community in order to support our players both on and off of the pitch.

In that time, we have been delighted to develop a strong relationship with the Metropolitan Police, who have been working with us at a number events in order to confidence and overall relationships between players and the police. We spoke to Community Engagement Officer, Nigel Pearce, to find out more about the partnership.

“My role with the Metropolitan Police is primarily to improve the relationship between the communities that live and work within Lambeth and Southwark and the organisation I work for. This has been a progressive partnership with Street Soccer, looking to improve trust, confidence and overall relationships between those attending and the police.”

Nigel highlights that the Met’s visits to the Black Prince Trust allow the police to listen to young people but also have honest conversation about how relationships can improve. He says “I feel like by coming in to this environment, chatting about football or even joining in, means that the young people can see someone with similar interests behind the uniform.”

With the introduction of the Bootroom at the Black Prince Trust, Street Soccer are looking to have more frequent workshops with partners such as the Met Police. Nigel believes that the relaxed environment at our base is a strong benefit to the relationship. 

“All the officers enjoy engaging with the players. By being seen on a more personal level, it allows more open and honest conversations, which can build relationships over time. We really value the power that sport has to open these doors and I believe that the programmes that Street Soccer deliver can change lives.” 

Nigel acknowledges that unfortunately the Met Police have not always got things right, but believes that working together with the community, positive change is achievable.  

“The promotion of positive interaction with police is a real progression. Working alongside SSL and the great work you are doing, we would love to be able to complement and support positive relationships and be able to address areas where we can improve. The willingness and openness from Street Soccer to provide these opportunities has been really appreciated within the organisation.” 

Programmes Coordinator Jack Badu believes that this partnership has had a positive impact on players within the programme, highlighting that “The Met Police are a long way away from being trusted by all members of our communities. Our hope is to see a change with the voices of our young people amplified using our monthly Bootroom sessions.

The police are neither the solution nor the problem as together we need to build a community where police see our young people as just young people and we as a community know who to turn to for help, support, and advice. Building a relationship and getting to know officers on a first name terms in environments that are stress free is key to this” 

Street Soccer London continues to strive for a healthier, safer and more inclusive community and believes that by working with local partners, the power of football can continue to change lives. All of our programmes are free, with drop-in sessions available for young people and adults, both male and female. You can find out more about them here. 

If you are a local organisation looking to learn more about the work we do, then please contact us via info@streetsoccerlondon.org 

Categories
News

Free football for adults in Lambeth

Street Soccer London’s adult football programme has started at the Black Prince Trust in Lambeth.

The free football session, which take place every Monday from 3:00-5:00pm, is part of our wide-ranging programmes to bring the local community together through sport.

In partnership with Quay Health Solutions, our first few sessions have seen a collective mix of nationalities and cultures, where football has been the common language.

The aim of our adult programme is to support the mental health of all participating players, allowing them to connect with new people in a safe environment. Street Soccer believes that football has the power to change lives and all of our sessions are open to new players, regardless of their experience in playing football.

Programme manager Craig McManus highlighted that the lived experience of staff members at SSL will be key to progressing the programme and supporting players on their journey for positive change.

“Our new adult drop-in session is the perfect example of the support that Street Soccer can provide. Our player pathway has meant that former players Frankie and Marc have been able to lead on this session with other former players Ethan and James assisting them.

Both Marc and Frankie are able to lean on their own experience of hardships to help new players settle in to the programme. That level of trust is significant and we believe that football has a unique way of breaking down barriers.”

This session, which takes place at our base in Lambeth, is the first step for players in building the foundations for a more positive future. By engaging with Street Soccer, you can open up a wider network for support as well as being part of a caring community that will always put their players first.

If you would like to learn more on how you can engage in our adult football programme, please contact Craig on craig@streetsoccerlondon.org or Laura on laura@streetsoccerlondon.org

Categories
News

Welcome to the Bootroom

Street Soccer London are pleased to launch its next phase of development in supporting young players in the community. The Bootroom is an opportunity for staff and players to connect off of the pitch, providing a chance to learn more about those at the heart of our programmes: the players.

Taking place in ‘The Space’ at the Black Prince Trust on the last Wednesday of every month, Street Soccer staff cater for all players to come and socialise in safe space with food and refreshments. This monthly event allows open discussion on important issues such as conduct, policing and other aspects of life which may be important to players in the local community.

Programme Coordinator, Jack Badu, highlighted the significance of the Bootroom’s introduction to Street Soccer’s services.

“We find that although the players learn a lot of transferrable skills through play on the pitch, we want to get the chance to know more about some of the other issues we could support them with. So far, we have had great chats on gender, harassment as well as some workshops on personal development opportunities for players.

It’s a really open environment where a lot of the players can chat one-to-one, maybe enjoy a bit of FIFA or learn more about our local partners.”

With team-building exercises and honest discussions at the heart of the work so far, Jack is looking forward to working alongside partners to develop the concept further.

“A big thanks goes to the Black Prince Trust for helping us facilitate this. We are looking ahead to some corporate opportunities so that local business partners can learn more about what our players think but also so the players can learn more about the future and what experiences may be available to them.”

With the Bootroom available to all players at Street Soccer, parents and carers can learn more about  the service by getting in touch with Jack at jack@streetsoccerlondon.org

By supporting young people through skills development both on and off the pitch, we can create a brighter future together.

Categories
News

Vacancy: Head Coach (Street 45)

Street Soccer have an exciting new vacancy to lead on our new women’s only programme in Hounslow. We are looking for enthusiastic coaches who are keen to use the power of football to make positive change in the community.

Our Street45 programme aims to engage women with no previous experience of football and re-engage those who have not been able to take part by combining football, fitness and social connection activities. Our model has been run throughout Scotland, addressing low levels of female participation in mixed drop-in sessions with great success, seeing a 300% increase in participation in 2020.

Street45 aims to engage women who might be socially isolated, excluded or struggle with mental health, to create connections and networks of support. We will create a strong and supportive team within a safe environment. Sessions being women-led is key to this, not only helping keep spaces safe for women but also helping break down gender-barriers and increasing empowerment.

Our sessions will target socially excluded women over 18. Different forms of social exclusion may include homelessness, addiction, mental health issues, as well as social isolation. Our team are vastly experienced in supporting women facing these challenges, with our staff having lived experience and having managed Team England’s Women’s Team at 3 Homeless World Cups. Our focus on connection and building relationships through a person-centred, relational approach, means we can effectively tackle issues such as social isolation.

Street45 will comprise weekly 90 minutes sessions with 45 mins football and fitness ad 45 mins social connection and support. Sessions will be led by a female head coach with the support of volunteers.

We plan to create a pathway for women to further develop their football through volunteering with us and helping to run sessions, and following pathways into coaching, refereeing and volunteering. We are able to do this through our partnerships with QPR and Brentford. This will enable progression from grassroots football, with the support of Street Soccer London. It will also enable us to create our future leaders. Lived experience is central to Street Soccer and over 60% of our staff team have lived experience. We support players along a pathway through volunteering, education, sessional work and employment and would love for participants of this sessions to become leaders.

We will tackle barriers to participation for women and support individuals to overcome any social and emotional barriers they may face. We want to tackle stigma wherever we find it, in perceptions of addiction and homelessness, mental health and womens engagement in sport.

Street Soccer London has also taken on Team England for the Homeless World Cup and would work with eligibly players to progress to this opportunity. Women experiencing homelessness and social marginalisation could have the opportunity to train and connect with people with similar experiences from across the country and represent their country at an international tournament in 2022.

Interested candidates can learn more about the role by contacting Craig McManus on craig@streetsoccerlondon.org

Categories
News

Homeless World Cup heading to New York

Street Soccer London is pleased to welcome the announcement from the Homeless World Cup Foundation around the return of the competition in 2022.

This years tournament will take place in New York with Street Soccer USA. Street Soccer London’s Team England are due to take place in their first World Cup as part of the Street Soccer family.

More information around the event will be announced in due course, with venue and specific dates in September still to be decided.

We look forward to working with our amazing partners across the globe in bringing together players for a special experience.

Categories
News

Street Soccer squads enjoy success at Crystal Palace tournament

Street Soccer London players had a memorable experience at Crystal Palace’s Academy Training Ground this past weekend, taking part in Palace for Life’s PL Kicks tournament.

Palace for Life, the clubs community arm, kindly invited Street Soccer along on Saturday as part of the Premier League’s youth initiative. Players were in awe of the brand new facilities which opened earlier this year and with category A status is one of the best in the UK.

Street Soccer entered three teams in to the tournament and won top prize in both the under 16 and under 18 age group. Programme coordinator, Jack Badu, said that the experience was important for the players.

“We had players along from both our FAST and Black Prince Trust sessions and it was a really great way to end the year for them. It’s one of the best places I have ever been too and the boys had a good time engaging with both Palace for Life and the Met Police Taskforce both on and off the pitch.”

There was memorable success for the coaches too as new sessional worker Jose, at his first event with Street Soccer, won the under 16 trophy with one of the squads.

We thank Palace for Life for their invite as we look forward to working together in the community again soon.