At-Risk, Homeless Youth and Adults Compete Alongside Region’s Top Soccer Talent
(NEW YORK, N.Y.) – 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. – will host the third annual Times Square Cup on Sunday, July 12 in partnership with New York City’s Department of Homeless Services.
More than 30 teams (ages 16 and older) will compete in front of 125,000 spectators throughout the day in a pop-up stadium on the 42nd/43rd St. Plaza in the heart of Manhattan. Also, 10 youth and adult teams from SSUSA’s social programs will participate in the tournament.
As the only team sport event hosted in Times Square, the goal is to raise awareness for Street Soccer USA’s sport for social change programs expanding across the “Big Apple” and throughout America.
“Sports are a great way to empower people to learn the skills they need to do well in school and to find and maintain employment,” says Carlos Menchaca, New York City Council Member. “We are proud to support Street Soccer USA and this event that is all about empowerment and skill building.”
Since its inception, SSUSA has reached over 3,000 at-risk and homeless youth and adults through partnership with over 20 social service partner agencies. The program has seen impressive results with more than 75 percent of participants connecting jobs and furthering education or employment within a year of joining.
Players will be outfitted in inspirational jerseys by leading apparel brand UNIQLO. SSUSA’s messaging is highlighted through custom crests on team jerseys and define why program participants play the game. They include change, character, confidence, dignity, empowerment, family, hope, independence, integrity, loyalty, opportunity, peace, possibility, pride, respect, strength, structure, support and unity.
“Soccer and our program curriculum focus on teamwork to be successful and our partners are stepping up in a big way this year to support the Times Square Cup,” says Lawrence Cann, Founder of SSUSA. “We are fortunate to celebrate sport for social change in a stunning and unique setting for the third year in a row.”
One of North America’s most iconic professional soccer teams – the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League — will be entering a staff and supporters team as well as appearances by its first team players.
“We are honored to be participants once again in this event,” said Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover. “As our official charity partner, we always look to support Street Soccer USA as extensively as possible and help them raise awareness for at-risk and homeless youths and adults.”
The tournament features two 52 foot by 72 foot street soccer courts with four foot walls and 12 foot by four foot goals. Games are high-paced and average 9.8 goals per match. Teams from Brazil, Italy, Mexico and across the U.S. will battle for “Street Soccer Championship” of New York City.
SSUSA’s partners include Coca-Cola Foundation, ESPN Foundation, New York Cosmos, Street Football World, U.S. Soccer Foundation, UNIQLO (official uniform supplier), Wells Fargo and others. SSUSA oversees programs in 16 U.S. cities which use soccer to build safe, healthy communities.
More information: www.streetsoccerusa.org.
About Street Soccer USA
Street Soccer USA (SSUSA), a 501(c)3 organization and an affiliate of HELP USA, is a national sport development program for social change in 16 cities across the United States. Teams train and compete in local leagues and work through a special curriculum of life and job skills.
SSUSA uses soccer as a team sport to help adults and youths overcome poverty and homelessness. Players commit to change their lives by setting three, six, and 12-month personal goals. By creating a team environment that is fun, positive, and universal, participants are provided with a family support group to build relationships of trust and stability. Players are challenged by personal motives and team expectations to advance individual character, confidence and hope.
More information: www.streetsoccerusa.org.
About UNIQLO and Fast Retailing
UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells clothing under seven main brands: Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, Theory, and UNIQLO. With global sales of approximately 1.38 trillion yen for the 2014 fiscal year ending August 31, 2014 (US $13.6 billion, calculated in yen using the annual average exchange rate to the end of August 2014 of $1 = 101.5 yen), Fast Retailing is one of the world’s largest apparel retail companies, and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer.
UNIQLO continues to open large-scale stores in some of the world’s most important cities and locations, as part of its ongoing efforts to solidify its status as a truly global brand. Today the company has a total of more than 1,500 stores in 16 markets worldwide including Japan, Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and the U.S. In addition, Grameen UNIQLO, a social business established in Bangladesh in September 2010, currently operates several Grameen UNIQLO stores in Dhaka. UNIQLO manages an integrated business model under which it designs, manufactures, markets and sells high-quality, casual apparel. The company believes that truly great clothes should be supremely comfortable, feature universal designs, are of high quality and offer a superb fit to everyone who wears them.
With a corporate statement committed to changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world, Fast Retailing is dedicated to creating great clothing with new and unique value to enrich the lives of people everywhere. For more information about UNIQLO and Fast Retailing, please visit www.uniqlo.com and www.fastretailing.com.
About The New York Cosmos
The New York Cosmos began play in 1971, spending 14 seasons in the North American Soccer League, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer to the USA. This included Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto. It had been nearly 30 years since the Cosmos, an iconic global soccer club, have played in a professional league. Yet throughout their absence, the club maintained a loyal and dedicated fan following.
On Aug. 3, 2013, the New York Cosmos returned to the NASL with a sell-out win at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, before embarking on a season that would see the Cosmos win the 2013 North American Soccer League Fall Season. The club closed out its inaugural season by winning the 2013 Soccer Bowl with a 1-0 victory against the Atlanta Silverbacks on Nov. 9, 2013 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, GA. The championship is the sixth NASL title in the club’s history.
The Cosmos also submitted a privately-funded economic development proposal in 2013 to the State of New York to build a world-class 25,000-seat professional soccer stadium at Belmont Park. More information about the proposal and renderings can be found at www.newcosmosstadium.com.
For more information on the New York Cosmos, please visit www.newyorkcosmos.com, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @NYCosmos. Season tickets for the 2015 season are also now available by calling 855 712 6766 or via the club’s official website.