Street Soccer players to challenge England star

The players will go head to head with Raheem on FIFA next month, with a virtual meet and greet taking place before the big game.

The City winger has been England’s star man so far at EURO 2020, with three goals in four games, and our London based players will begin their preparation this July.

Premier League eSports champion Shellzz will be on hand to give out his best hints and tips to our Street Soccer duo, with virtual training beginning this week.

Shellzz, who also represents Manchester City, won the title earlier in the year and is now ranked as one of the best FIFA players in the world.


Visit our new Boot Room facility in Lambeth

Thanks to our fantastic partners at BPT, ‘The Boot Room’ will now offer a safe space for Street Soccer players to engage in off-pitch activities with staff, as well as doubling up as an office environment for staff before and after sessions.

The Boot Room will ensure that one-to-one support is now available throughout the day for any player who visits. Personal development opportunities and training courses will now also be completed out of this space, meaning that our various sessions can now be delivered safely both on and off of the pitch in Lambeth.

Please make sure you visit us, we’ll always be around for a chat.


Street Soccer London proud to have its first involvement in ’32 Boro Cup’

The tournament aims to engage teenagers across London in a giant two day 11-a-side tournament, hosted at Wanstead Flats in East London. The competition will bring together 32 youth teams from each borough in the city, with off-pitch activities available on site to engage players in employability and personal development opportunities.

Street Soccer, in partnership with the Black Prince Trust and FAST, have selected a 18 player squad, following trials across our sites in Lambeth and Nine Elms.

With the event looming in just over a weeks’ time, the squad have been hard at work in training with Street Soccer coaches Matthew and
Jack. The group have also benefited from having a strength and conditioning coach on site.

With an influx of new players in the Street Soccer programmes, this will be the first opportunity for many of the boys to come together as a team representing Street Soccer.

We anticipate this to be a fantastic learning experience for all involved. The tournament is the latest instalment in a series of initiatives from HWFC and partners Nike to tackle violence among young men across the city.

We are proud to be part of such a big event as we strive to continue to make positive change through football.


Meet the Team | Yasin

During this time Yasin spent a year studying abroad in the USA as an exchange student and saw the prevalence and intensity of social issues such as racial inequality, segregation and poverty in the USA which further enhanced his passion for social justice.

Throughout school, college and University Yasin has always loved and played football, which has played a big part in his life and is the basis of some of his most meaningful friendships and relationships. Particularly through his teenage years, he saw many of his very talented friends disengage from sport and fall into trouble and the criminal justice system. Over the years, Yasin has become passionate about youth work, supporting young people to achieve their potential and avoid risk-taking behaviours.

Following his interest in tackling social issues around the criminal justice system, Yasin began working for a charity supporting ex-offenders in prisons and in the community, delivering support workshops and becoming a case worker and researcher. He supported ex-offenders re-integrating and re-settling in the community, working to prevent further social harms such as unemployment and re-offending.

Through this role, Yasin began supporting on the delivery of football workshops in prisons and in the community, working with QPR FC Foundation, Fulham FC Foundation, and Chelsea FC Foundation.

It was here that Yasin met future Street Soccer London Manager Craig and they worked together alongside the Chelsea FC Foundation delivering football sessions in Brixton Prison and Feltham Young Offenders Institute, building their strong partnership. Yasin and Craig also participated in a prison football tournament in the Netherlands with the Chelsea FC Foundation, seeing the possibilities of an alternative prisons-system.

In March 2020, Yasin embarked on a trip travelling through Central and South America that was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic. Returning home, he struggled with a lack of meaningful activity and sense of purpose, until Craig got in touch and asked if he wanted to come and volunteer with Street Soccer London.

Yasin began helping Craig and Jack run the sessions, using his understanding of the barriers and challenges young people face and his youth work skills to support young people through the difficulties of Covid-19.

As a result, Yasin was offered a job and became Street Soccer London’s third coach.

Yasin has a passion for young people and a wealth of knowledge and experience of the social issues around criminal justice and the criminal justice system. Yasin has seen what football can do for people and is determined that it has a positive impact on the lives of as many young people as possible.

“I don’t think anyone knows how much Street Soccer has helped me. I was having a tough time in the first lockdown, and Street Soccer was a beacon of light.”


Street Soccer London helping youngsters set new goals

“Street Soccer seeks to change those perceptions,” says manager Craig McManus. “We want to help young people reach a point of freedom where they can find out what they really are and where they belong.

“If we don’t do it, there’s a danger they may find that sense of belonging in a less positive environment. Our purpose as an organisation is to support young people on their journey to fulfilling their potential.”

Street Soccer London is an extension of Street Soccer Scotland, which was established over a decade ago to engage with ex-offenders, long-term unemployed, the homeless and people with mental health issues. Founder David Duke MBE spotted the potential when competing for Scotland in the Homeless World Cup.

Street Soccer London has sought to extend those philosophies to the English capital. Led by Craig, London Coordinator Jack Badu and a host of coaches and volunteers, it has only been in operation for six months (a period which includes two Covid-19 lockdowns) but already has over 300 registered players.

Sky Blues in the Community
The organisation has joined our stable of Local Delivery Partners in London and has allocated a Wednesday night session for 12-18-year-olds as a Levelling the Playing Field session. Participants’ outcome data will be recorded and will contribute to our nationwide evidence base of best practice for the use of sport in youth justice.

Participants’ first experience of Street Soccer London is purely as a drop-in football session. It’s there for them every week, so there’s consistency, stability, set standards and an initial connection. “That initial welcome is important” states Craig. “We want them to come and get an immediate impression;, ‘These guys are sound.’”

Getting them through the door is stage one of four in the development of young people who attend. “Although we’re impatient to see outcomes, we’re not forcing stage two yet,” admits Craig. “Covid has been a great teacher of patience. Before we get any grandiose ideas, we are keeping it simple and just building those individual relationships.”

Craig knows himself that it takes time. He has lived experience and came through Street Soccer Scotland’s programme as a participant. “When I went through what I did, nobody asked me intrusive questions on day one – they just let me play football,” he remembers.

“That is really important. I could just be myself for a couple of hours and play the game I loved. Then, through time, people started connecting with me in a different way. ‘How you doing? What’s your housing situation? Are you eating properly?’

Sky Blues in the Community
“They knew the right time to ask the questions – and that’s something Jack and I are very conscious of. You can’t just come out with, ‘Are you in a gang?!’ It’s gradually and subtly, ‘How are you getting on at school? How’s your family? How are you feeling about Covid?’

“That’s what we’re currently building towards in 2021. That’s exciting. We’re not trying to force anything. We do not ask – by the nature of the relationships, we find out.”

Jack adds: “It’s important to be genuine and supportive. Once you’ve developed a relationship with a young person you then know the questions to ask because you know them.

“It’s important to think, where is this young person coming from? Have they experienced trauma or poor relationships with adults in the past? How can we be different to that and support them as much as possible? The intervention must not be rushed. Kids can’t be experiments in a lab. They need to feel part of a community.”

In order to build trust, it’s important in the early engagement stage that staff are not seen as authority figures. “We mustn’t come across as a teacher or police officer,” explains Craig. “We have to be ‘on a level’ with them. In good times we have good fun, but in tough times for the individual they must feel they can come and speak to us.”

After that initial connection of stage one, stage two of Street Soccer London’s approach is (when appropriate) to start formulating a participant’s personal development plan. It’s about building social and emotional skills within a safe environment.

Sky Blues in the Community
Stage three moves things on beyond the local football pitch; experiences, awards, tournaments and field trips.

Stage four is starting to look at positive outcomes, whether a young person would like to train up as a volunteer on the programme, take a coaching qualification or become a mentor. They could also be signposted elsewhere for education, training or employment opportunities.

Young people find Street Soccer through word of mouth, outreach and youth work or as part of alternative provision to reintegrate them back into mainstream education.

Two highly fruitful partnerships – with the Black Prince Trust in Wandsworth and FAST youth and community project in Lambeth – have enabled Street Soccer London to tap into communities quickly.

Already 13 sessions are established across the two venues with 48 participants registered for their designated Levelling the Playing Field session.

“We’re looking at how we enhance and consolidate in 2021 so that’s why we’re really excited about Levelling the Playing Field,” says Craig. “We’ve already got some 17 or 18-year-olds in mind who we could engage in the mentoring training and then work with a peer group.

“The mentoring training really can support the young people into becoming game changers. They can be trained up to continue that cycle and become the ones in the future who are driving positive change.”

We are grateful to our friends at ‘Levelling The Playing Field’ for letting us re-produce this article. To find out more about their work, please follow this link to visit their website. 


Archbishop Tenison’s School scores with Street Soccer

After a busy first-half term back at school, we wanted to provide a day of fun for our children, with a focus on relationships, team-building and exercise.

Ms. Fox immediately got in touch with our friends at Street Soccer and we worked together to provide a drop down day for all of our students at the Black Prince Community Hub. This involved the students taking part in activities such as Tango football, boxing, team-building exercises, but most importantly, getting lots of fresh air!

Feedback from our students has been really positive; one of our Year 7 children said that the races she did ‘were the most fun because I always really enjoy racing’ and a Year 8 student said he wants to do it ‘once a week’ in the future!

Craig McManus, Manager at Street Soccer, remarked on how impressed he was with our students, and how much fun they had had: “I asked a Year 7 what the sports day was all about, she said collaboration! I couldn’t of agreed more.

What an amazing 5 days working with the brilliant group of young people. Smiles, laughter and loads of energy! A great tonic for the tough times we are all experiencing. Can’t wait to do it again”.

We really want to look after our students and continue to support them during this pandemic. We can’t wait to offer more opportunities like this next term, and we already have a Maths drop down day planned.

A huge thank you to all our staff, the staff at Street Soccer and everyone who works at the Black Prince Community Centre for making this all possible.

We are so glad that our students were able to have fun, work as a team, and to truly let their lights shine.


Meet the Team | Jack

Jack is able to understand the pressures many of the young people we work with face, having been there himself, and is passionate about creating hope and positive opportunities for them.

He has first-hand experience of the value of strong and positive role models and networks of support, and has seen the detrimental impact lacking these supports can have. Jack is now there to be that positive role model for another young person who might need him, working to support individuals as well as change winder perspectives around inclusion and opportunities in the community.

Jack has a wealth of experience in football coaching and development work, with over 10 years coaching football for different ages genders and abilities. Jack uses his extensive experience alongside communication, logistical and leadership skills to work towards social change.

Jack has spent his career in football and coaching, using football for social development and working with deprived communities. Previously working for organisations such as Football Beyond Boarders and Centrepoint, Jack is driven by wanting to make positive social change, help develop and empower those facing disadvantage, and use football as the vehicle to do this.

At Centrepoint, Jack worked with SSL Manager Craig, finding in each other the same values and drive to make a difference to people’s lives. Together they developed Centrepoint’s Team England Street Football Programme and Jack managed the Women’s Team, working in partnership with 24 football clubs across England. They selected and managed the Homeless World Cup Team England Women’s team at 3 tournaments.

Jack’s development skills and abilities to build confidence led to 5 young women players volunteering with Team England and 3 working with Premier League Football Foundations. In 2019, a record number of women applied and for the first year there were more women in the Team England Squad than men.

Jack is committed to tackling inequalities and breaking down barriers, with proven successes engaging and developing socially and economically disadvantaged women.

Now at Street Soccer London, Jack has used his youth development skills, passion for inclusion and determination to break down barriers and create opportunities to help our SSL sessions grown and thrive. In our first year, Jack helped support over 350 young people, running sessions that often saw more girls attending than boys.

Building on the success of our youth programmes, Jack is now looking to use his skills to support disadvantaged adults as well.

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The first step to accessing our services is coming along to a free drop-in football session.

All sessions postponed due to Government Covid-19 restrictions


Wandsworth FAST London


Wandsworth FAST London


Lambeth BTP Community


Lambeth BTP Community

Coming for the first time? Call Jack on 04321 987654