"Lady Salamanders" - The First National All-Women Street Soccer USA Team
First Ever All Women’s Team to Represent US at 56 nation Homeless World Cup in Brazil
8 women from homeless shelters across the country make up the Lady Salamanders Team which
will come to New York City for training camp and exhibitions Sept 14-16th, before to traveling to Rio,
What: Philanthropist Sheila Johnson named the team the Lady Salamanders because salamanders,
capable of surviving in fire and water, embody resilience, a quality Ms. Johnson herself and especially
these women overcoming homelessness embody. Quote here from Sheila. The Lady Salamanders is a
program of Street Soccer USA (www.streetsoccerusa.org), a national not for profit organization whose
motto is “Ending Homelessness and Poverty is a Team Sport.” Street Soccer USA delivers sports based
curriculum to teams in shelters and resource center in 19 cities across the United States. 75% of team
members connect to jobs, education, or housing within a year of joining the program. Each year it takes
teams to represent the United States at the Homeless World Cup, a 4v4 street soccer tournament of
parallel programs in 56 countries.
Who: Lisa Wrightsman shaved her head into Mohawk in order to bond with her current teammates, who
are all in recovery together. Lisa was a former second time leading scorer at Sacramento St. University
before she lost control of her life. Soccer has been an important part of her recovery. Lisa told the New
York Times about making the Lady Salamanders, “I’m honored, shocked. I’ve worked harder to do this
than anything in my life.”
Deqo Shire, 17, another Lady Salamander, survived the war in Somali before coming to Minneapolis as
refugee. Nori Emerson, 28, from Charlotte, was living in an abandoned building when was convinced to
join Street Soccer USA. Now she lives in her own apartment.
When and Where: The team will be training at HELP USA’s SEC shelter on Ward’s Island Tuesday,
Wednesday, and Thursday of the week of September 13th. Wednesday night they will play a scrimmage
match in Manhattan before departing for Rio, at 7pm from JFK Airport on Friday on Thursday. The
Homeless World Cup competition begins Sunday the 19th and ends Sunday Sept 26th.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more details at www.streetsoccerusa.org and follow our tweets @streetsoccerusa #ladysals
The only female participant in 2009, Ebony Wright of Charlotte, encourages the women's initiative, "Being the only girl was tough, real tough. I think more of us would get involved, bond together, and try to improve ourselves if we had our own team. The first all-women team is an awesome idea. It's going to mean a lot." After three years of homelessness, Ebony joined the SSUSA program and committed to her goals, which have included finding work and moving into an apartment.
In honor of Sheila Johnson - The women's team competing in Brazil will be called the "Lady Salamanders". In world mythology the salamander represents strength, courage, and fortitude, all necessary components to overcome great obstacles and create social change.
The Lady Salamander street soccer program will work onsite in shelters and group homes across the country, tying teamwork and sports-based lessons directly to education and employment outcomes through a curriculum that focuses on teamwork, self esteem, healthy living, and financial literacy.