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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

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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!

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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.

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Summer Tournament Review

With the end of the summer holidays approaching, Street Soccer London are proud to look back on a valuable few months for our players in tournaments across London.

Working with coaches Matthew and Yasin, a core group of talented players have helped Street Soccer build a positive environment across various competitions.

The second weekend of July was a big weekend for football, not just at Wembley but also for Street Soccer as we had squads competing at both the Football for Unity tournament and the 32 Boro Cup on the 10th and 11th July, respectively.

The Football for Unity tournament was delivered by partners at Street Child United and UEFA Foundation to celebrate the power of sport as part of the EURO 2020 legacy programme. Playing in the five-a-side tournament against teams from club foundations such as Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Fulham and Watford, our boys held their own as they finished top of the group but suffered a semi final defeat to Everton. This event was a great day for our players and staff as they engaged in workshops throughout as well as enjoying the experience of playing together as Team Street Soccer for the first time.

The following day was highly anticipated as the Street Soccer squad travelled to Hackney to compete as Merton borough at the 32 Boro Cup. The lead up to this tournament involved two trial days, three training sessions followed by two workshops with the players. All of this contributed to some fantastic team morale on the day, with the team competing in a 11-a-side group stage and knockout format. After narrowly missing out on qualification to the ‘Champions League’ knockouts, the lads qualified for the ‘Europa League’ where a penalty shootout defeat meant they exited in the round of 16.

Coach on the day, Yasin, highlighted the exemplary conduct from the players throughout:

“We were proud of the way the boys conducted themselves on the day and proud of the performance they put in. We’re a new team who haven’t played together much and we came together, gave our best, competed and that is all we can ask for.”

There was silverware at the next tournament, run by our partners at FAST. The small sided competition at Powerleague Nine Elms on August 9th was a successful day for Street Soccer teams, with sides in both age groups lifting the ‘Champions League’ winners trophy. With SSL entering four teams across the 11-15 and 16-18 age groups, the boys performed brilliantly to win top prize in both. Our female team were also successful, winning their event in style.

Our final event of the summer was on site at the Black Prince Trust in the Lambeth World Cup. Run by our friends at the Fulham Foundation, the boys suffered penalty heart-ache again in the final. The five-a-side tournament was a fantastic experience for our young squad, competing against all the foundations and charities in and around Lambeth.

Street Soccer’s Matthew empahsised that this summer’s events have been invaluable to a lot of our players, with many of them now involved in more regular volunteering roles. Looking ahead to next summer, Matthew stressed that Street Soccer will be looking to invest more time in to preparation for future tournaments, highlighting the success of multiple workshops completed on site.

“It has been quite clear that a lot of our players are now responding to our ethos and how to conduct themselves on and off the pitch. This is really important to us and we look forward to ensuring that continues for the next crop of players in 2022.”

To find out more about getting involved with our sessions, head to our play section.

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32 Boro Cup: Preview

Is it coming home? That’s the question on the lips on everyone’s lips as Street Soccer players enter the 32 Borough Cup this coming Sunday.

Representing Merton Borough, Street Soccer and FAST have selected an 18 man squad to participate in the tournament set up by Hackney Wick FC. In partnership with the Black Prince Trust, we have prepared the squad across numerous training sessions, following an extensive trial period.

Abukar, the goalkeeper for our squad, believes that the boys have a real chance of progressing in the tournament;

“We’re really excited for Sunday, this is the first time a lot of our guys have played together, so it will be a new experience but I feel like we’ve got a good chance to show what we’ve got. I think we’ve got a solid team, training has been going well and the boys are really happy with how things are shaping up.”

There are eight groups of four across the competition and Merton have been placed in Group D with Newham, Waltham Forest and Ealing. Games will be half an hour long, played at the Hackney Marshes. The knockouts will see the top two progress to a Championship route, with the bottom two proceeding to a conference competition.

The tournament was established by Hackney Wick FC, with the aim of engaging with the younger community both on and off the pitch to reduce violence around the city. With all 32 boroughs represented, this will be a great opportunity for the 16-18 year olds to showcase their skills at the event, which will be supported by BT Sport and Nike.

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Abukar highlighted the benefit of the Street Soccer sessions, which have grown since its inception in 2020. More players across the city are participating, with many unlucky not to be selected for the upcoming event;

“I’ve been going to Street Soccer sessions since September and I’ve seen it grow from 20 odd people up to almost 60 people who are really benefitting from the football on offer. It was really hard only picking a squad of 18!”

With England’s European Championship final against Italy later in the day, there is potential for double glory in London. Gareth Southgate’s men are competing in their first final since 1966 in the north of the city, Abukar spoke of the excitement among the squad;

“Depending on when we exit the tournament, a lot of the boys will be hyped for the build up to the Euros final, we’ve never seen England in a final before.”

A new squad and a new experience for the Street Soccer boys, asked if there was anyone to lookout for in particular, Abukar added;

“I wouldn’t say we have any standout players per se, we’ve been unlucky with a few injuries but we have talent all over the pitch. If I was to pick any I’d say look out for Callum and Abdi to cause some damage though!”