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FC Dallas players part of Street Soccer USA's homelessness effort

02 May 3:35 pm

FC Dallas players part of Street Soccer USA's homelessness effort

 

NEW YORK –Today a group of professional soccer players, including FC Dallas' Zach Loyd, Brek Shea and Andrew Wiedeman, made history by banding together to support the cause of ending homelessness through sport. Acting completely independently and charitably across 13 cities in 3 countries, 21 soccer players formed the first-ever independent charitable alliance by active professional athletes.  The Sport for Social Change Ambassadors program serves Street Soccer USA (SSUSA), a non-profit organization that transfers life and job skills to homeless youth and adults through sports; SSUSA operates programs in 20 U.S. cities and achieves a 75% success rate in connecting their participants to further education, employment, housing, and other services.

The Ambassadors’ purpose is to directly improve the lives of the homeless youth and adults in their community in addition to rallying the community around the cause of ending homelessness.  Current SSUSA player, TK Ajiboye, who was homeless in NYC for a year and a half, used the SSUSA program to escape homelessness.  In support of TK, Ambassador and Premier League player Emmerson Boyce flew from England to attend TK’s recent graduation from community college.  “Having professional soccer players supporting me was an unbelievable feeling,” TK said, “getting support like that makes me want to do more for others.”

Ambassadors’ social change efforts extend to on-the-field performances as well.  The first Ambassador, league leading scorer for two consecutive years Chris Wondolowski, makes his difference by donating $100 dollars for every goal he scores.  So far he’s second in the league with eight goals in eight games and his club, the San Jose Earthquakes, have matched his pledge. Fans in the Bay Area have also supported Wondolowski’s efforts with donations for each goal.

Ambassador and New York Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty has led the recruitment of Ambassadors.  “As professional athletes, we are leaders on and off the field. Soccer is a team sport, so we know what it means to support others, so we want to share that with the community. In the end, fighting homelessness and poverty needs to be a team sport as well.”

MLS teams have followed the players’ lead and are actively supporting the cause in New York, Dallas, D.C., and San Jose. The full list of the first wave of Ambassadors can be viewed at www.streetsoccerusa.org/press_and_media/Ambassadors and includes:

Eddie Ababio – Colorado Rapids
Juan Agudelo – New York Red Bulls
Eric Avila – Toronto FC
Johnny Borrajo – New York Red Bulls
Emmerson Boyce – Wigan Athletic (England)
Jeb Brovsky – Montreal Impact
Jon Busch- San Jose Earthquakes 
Kenny Cooper – New York Red Bulls
Stephen Keel – New York Red Bulls
Zach Loyd – FC Dallas
Dax McCarty – New York Red Bulls
Lee Nguyen – New England Revolution
Heath Pearce – Chivas USA
Chris Pontius – DC United
Kofi Sarkodie – Houston Dynamo
Brek Shea – FC Dallas
Clyde Simms – New England Revolution
Kirk Urso – Columbus Crew
Michael Videira – Chicago Fire
Andrew Wiedeman – FC Dallas
Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes