SSMinneapolis Director: Jose Acuna
SSMinneapolis Organization:Pillsbury United Communities - Brian Coyle Center http://www.puc-mn.org/
About the Program
In 2008, non-profit youth service provider YouthLink partnered with Street Soccer USA to found Street Soccer Minneapolis. YouthLink specializes in the multiple needs of homeless and precariously housed youth (ages 14-21). By extension, the Minneapolis Street Soccer program promotes discipline, goal setting, and team building through sports, and offers an innovative method to help youth gain control of their lives.
Under the direction of their coach, Jose Acuna, Street Soccer Minneapolis came in first in the 2008 U.S. Cup and was the runner-up of the 2009 national championship. The practice squad has grown to 25 players, including five women, and has fought to find indoor practice facilities to support training during the cold winters. The team currently uses a church basement to facilitate weekly practices and games Tuesdays and Fridays from 7 p.m. to midnight.
Coach Acuna reports the overall rate of successful rehabilitation (housing and employment) to be between 75-80 percent. Coach Acuna uses training privileges to motivate his players to make positive changes in their lives: “If a player has an anger issue, I’ll tell him that he needs to enroll in anger management before he can compete.” Of the six players on the core team that have competed with Street Soccer Minneapolis since in its first season, one is in college and three are in permanent, stable housing. In the second and third years the teams has seen even better results. Thirteen players from the 2009 team have seen a significant life change in one of the following categories: pursuit of education or received high school diploma or GED, addressed a substance abuse or alcohol problem moved into housing, became gainfully employed or received mental health treatment.
In The Media
Paid for by Street Soccer USA
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