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Street Soccer USA gears up for the ‘Times Square Cup’

Lawrence Cann is the founder of Street Soccer USA

Sports Matter


It was Nelson Mandela, among others, who spoke so eloquently about how sports have the power to change the world. And it’s very true; sports definitely can serve as a variable to build a bridge. In fact, sports can do so much for so many when used as an agent for social change.

Winning a world championship can do so much to unite a nation. Yet sometimes, it seems as though many people, including the athletes we tend to idolize, are more focused on winning, than all that’s involved with the amazing elements of the sport itself. It’s so important we never lose sight of what truly matters, and more than anything at all, it’s the sport and all that goes along with it that provides us with so much.

Lawrence Cann, the Founder of Street Soccer USA ( SSUSA ) would like us to be mindful of the amazing power of sport and in particular the amazing power of soccer.  He wants everyone to experience a sense of belonging similar to the one he and many Americans likely felt when the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the Women’s World Cup.  The sense of family and connectedness, the sense of honor, and the sense of unification that can bind us together, and allow us to feel stronger are so important for both our individual and collective soul.  Understanding this, is just one of the reasons Cann founded  Street Soccer USA, a national non-profit sport development organization that uses soccer as a means to implement powerful change.  Through this organization, Cann currently is and also plans to continue to do something to help those who are considered ‘at-risk’ youth, as well as,  help the many homeless families in New York City, and throughout the nation.  He wants to inspire and generate hope in those who might have difficulty finding reasons to hold on by showing how soccer can unite communities.  He’s also hoping to create awareness about the problems some youth face, due to the ‘pay to play’ leagues that are often in place.  Quite simply, not everyone has the money to play, and he wants to do something to help create opportunities for youth and adults who might not have one.  In addition, he’s hoping to shed the stigma that is often associated with being homeless.  Truly, being homeless can happen to anyone.  Those of us who may have experienced devastating catastrophic storms, or have fallen on financial hardship might be able to relate better than others, however, we should all try and remember that anyone of us can end up losing things that we value. Working to help create solutions rather than point fingers can go a long way.  Kudos to Lawrence Cann and everyone who serves as part of the solution!

This weekend SSUSA hits the streets and will take over Times Square.  DoubleGSports will be there to experience the Four-a-side, soccer tournament, which includes competitors from Canada and Mexico.  More than 125,000 people are expected in attendance throughout the day. This is the only team sport event yet to be hosted in Times Square.

Remember that Nelson Mandela said that sports could unite the world.  When you stop to consider, Nelson Mandela, and all he did to change the world, it’s very telling what just one person can do when they set out on a mission.   Lawrence Cann is one person who wants to make a difference.  He’s doing that.  It’s no wonder People Magazine has named him as a “Hero Among Us” because of all he’s doing to help create positive change.  Cann knows what its like to be without a home, because of circumstances that happened when he was a child growing up in Richmond, Virginia.  Although he had family and friends to help after a fire that caused devastation in his youth, he never forgot what it was like to be without.  He wanted to do more and has a passion to help others. It’s this passion to help others, along with his passion for soccer, that caused him to want to use soccer as a way to ignite positive change.

Of course, it’s not that easy to fix the plight of the homeless population.  However, blaming others or tossing the problem under the rug will not make it go away. So what can we do about it? How can we help Lawrence Cann, and everyone associated with this powerful organization?  We can help support SSUSA and if you’re able to be in New York City this weekend head on over to Times Square and watch as ‘Street Soccer USA’ takes over in their quest to play for goals that are bigger than winning!

Street Soccer USA


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Michelle has been a sports writer and analyst for many years. Now, as host of Neutral Court, sponsored by In The Zone, Michelle brings a new sports topic to the debate floor with each episode.
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