Street Soccer USA hosts Times Square Cup in NYC to benefit homeless
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Via Street Soccer USA) – Street Soccer USA (SSUSA), the national non-profit organization utilizing soccer to teach life and job skills to at-risk and homeless youth and adults across the U.S. – hosted the third annual Times Square Cup yesterday, July 12 in partnership with New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, UNIQLO, New York Cosmos, TAG Heuer and other program partners.
As the only team sport event hosted in the heart of Manhattan, the goal was to bring attention to Street Soccer USA’s sport for social change programs expanding across the “Big Apple” and throughout America to support homeless and at-risk youth and adults. Currently, 22,000 children are homeless in New York City.
“This event raises awareness through soccer as a vehicle to help build a support system, teaching invaluable life skills that will help homeless regain employment, housing and relationships,” says Carlos Menchaca, New York City Council Member. “We are proud to support Street Soccer USA and look forward to seeing a positive impact in our community.”
SSUSA congratulates NYC Jamaica on claiming the “Street Soccer Championship” of New York City by winning the 2015 Times Square Cup.
32 teams (ages 16 and older) competed in front of 125,000 spectators throughout the day in a pop-up stadium on the 42nd/43rd St. Plaza in New York City. Also, 10 youth and adult teams from SSUSA’s social programs participated in the tournament.
Each team was outfitted in inspirational jerseys by leading apparel brand UNIQLO. SSUSA’s messaging was highlighted through custom crests on jerseys that define why program participants play the game. They included change, character, confidence, dignity, empowerment, family, hope, independence, integrity, loyalty, opportunity, peace, possibility, pride, respect, strength, structure, support and unity.
“We are fortunate to have the unwavering support of our partners which made our third Times Square Cup a huge hit in one of the busiest intersections of the world,” says Lawrence Cann, Founder of SSUSA. “Today marked our most successful event to date, from the high-octane matches to more than 125,000 people in attendance.”
One of North America’s most iconic professional soccer teams – the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League — entered a front office staff and supporters team. Its first team leading goal-scorer, Lucky Mkosana, and striker, Mads Stokkelien, were both in attendance.
“We enjoy participating in this event every year and giving back to a cause we believe in,” said New York Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover. “As our official charity partner, it’s an honor to help bring attention to the rise of poverty and homelessness and make a difference in the lives of thousands of people each year.”
The tournament featured two 52 foot by 72 foot street soccer courts with four foot walls and 12 foot by four foot goals. Games were high-paced and featured teams from Brazil, Italy, Mexico and across the U.S. who battled all day to be crowned the lone champion of New York City.
At the event’s welcoming ceremony, official time keeper of the Times Square Cup, TAG Heuer, recognized New York Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty with the “Sport for Social Change” award, presenting a special watch in honor of his commitment to using soccer as a force for good in society.
In addition to NYC, SSUSA oversees programs in other 15 U.S. cities which use soccer to build safe, healthy communities. Since its inception, the organization has reached over 3,000 at-risk and homeless youth and adults through partnership with over 20 social service partner agencies. SSUSA’s program has seen impressive results with more than 75 percent of participants connecting jobs and furthering education or employment within a year of joining.