Vancouver’s street soccer teams are practicing hard and excitedly gearing up to compete in this year’s Homeless World Cup in Paris, France and we need your help to get them there!!!
Come meet the first and only homeless women’s team in Canada or chat with last years Team Canada players about their trip to the Homeless World Cup in Brazil
Mayhem and fun will include:
The Vancouver Street Soccer League Takes on City Hall
In a series of classic confrontations, Vancouver Street Soccer League (www.vancouverstreetsoccer.com) teams tested their skills not only against each other, but also against a City of Vancouver team lead by Mayor Gregor Robertson on Saturday, December 4 at Memorial South Park.
Many people contributed to the organization of the tournament and even Mother Nature chipped in by giving us a beautiful sunny day. Malcolm Bromley and the Park Board had an amazing new turf field for us to Christen with some soccer magic. Continuing their strong support of Street Soccer, the Portland Hotel Society provided tents, heaters, food and other pieces of the puzzle through our great PHS-based volunteers, including Kailin See and Sarah Blyth who had lead organizational roles. Snacks and drinks were generously provided by the Vancouver Food Bank. Andrea Reimer, Sarah Blyth, and Amy and Gregor Robertson recruited a strong team for the City. Ex-Vancouver Dream Catcher turned AHA Media reporter Peter Davies and Vancouver International Soccer Festival President Adri Hamael were quick to answer the call and then make all the right ones as referees. We also felt the love of Street Soccer friends across the country as everyone received a Street Soccer Canada toque from Paul Gregory and Wendy Perkins at SSC headquarters in Ontario. The live music by Good for Grapes completed the atmosphere, and Kurt Heinrich ensured the event got the attention of the city by once again attracting prominent media coverage (http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20080124/BC_Vid_Newscast_080124/20091203?hub=BritishColumbiaHome ; pick the broadcast from Dec. 4 and advance to the 7-minute mark). As usual, the comprehensive account was also recorded by April Smith at AHA Media.
As hosts of the tournament, Portland FC (www.portlandfc.ca) setup camp on Field 1 for the duration. Team Canada veterans and new recruits alike made sure that points weren’t easily gained by the competition. Randy showed moments of goaltending brilliance reminiscent of his all-star performance against Mexico at the Homeless World Cup, while Hector, Rik, Frank, Sid, Peter and Patrick put on a passing display that was tastier than Prime Time Chicken.
Like the Montreal Canadiens of Vancouver Street Soccer, the Eastside Sun Eagles brought their proven formula of intensity and reliable play to the tournament. Playing coach Lotfi and Team Canada penalty-shot expert Robert lead usual suspects Virgil, Hudson, Saul, Carlos, Bryan, and Shamaly in a relentless attack that gave Mayor Robertson a loss to revisit in his mind through slow moments in Council Chambers over the coming months. Keeper Hector was stingier than Ebenezer Scrooge, allowing only a single goal the whole tournament.
Since steamrolling the competition in their Street Soccer debut in the February, 2010 Going For Gold tournament, the Aboriginal Friendship Centre has consistently raised the bar of competition for the other VSSL teams. Saturday was no exception as Mel, Shane, Dennis, Quoc, Jerry, Jake, Aaron, Joseph, Conrad, Dude, Ted, Enrique, and playing coach Brian rolled shift after skill-laden shift in a system that Alain Vigneault would have been proud of. With small nets making goals hard to come by, Brian and Enrique impressed by each rippling the mesh and then providing an encore.
Like a series of election night nail biters, the City team, bolstered by VSSL volunteers, squeaked out a collection of close victories, but couldn’t beat the eventual tournament champions. The one – nil win over Portland FC must have been sweet redemption for the now legendary 6-5 Portland FC triumph over the Mayor and City Council 11-aside in the teams’ only previous meeting. Street Soccer fans everywhere are already debating the likely outcome of a balance-tipping third game. Mayor Robertson delighted the populace with game-winning goal. Not to be outdone, and possibly a signal that he intends to run for office himself, Diego lead the way with three match-deciding markers. Chris, Zoran, Kurt, Barry, Adrian, Ron, and Andy provided a supporting cast with more style than City Hall’s art deco relief.
By all accounts, the favourites of the tournament were Portland FC Phoenix. Not intimidated by the greatest collection of Street Soccer talent ever accumulated in Vancouver, the VSSL’s first all women’s team stepped up and rolled out an inspired brand of football. In one close game after another, Phoenix averaged less than two goals against per game. A slim one to nothing scoreline was all that separated Phoenix from the Mayor’s team and their male Portland FC counterparts could also only manage one tally against them. Keeper and City Councilor Andrea Reimer served early and frequent notice that unwanted guests weren’t welcome in her goal crease. Amy and Carla showed the poise of experienced veterans, while Sarah, Kailin, and Heather proved quick studies from their time practicing with Portland FC. Christa (“iano Ronaldo”) revealed step-over moves that will be dancing in the heads of more than a couple defensemen this holiday season. Meanwhile, Paula had something to teach Ryan Kesler about being an effective two-way player by establishing a formidable presence at both ends of the field. Kayla, Claire, Tracy, Tanya and the rest of the team must have been fired up by Lauren’s surprisingly effective battle cry as they brought the fight to the guys match after match.
In the end, there could only be one winner and on this day, the North Shore Shields would not be denied. The mountain men from the other side of the water went undefeated through all five games. Only the Sun Eagles managed to avoid a loss to the Shields by clinging to a zero – zero draw. A true sign of a dynasty team is even scoring throughout the roster, and with Steve, Trevor, James, Fred, Ramin, and Alex all putting up numbers in the goal column, the Shields could be the team to beat for the foreseeable future. However, the 2-1 victory over Portland FC must have been bittersweet for Steve, Trevor, and James who were on loan from the home side. Only time will tell if a return of their services will brighten Portland FC’s fortune in the next tournament. Masoud, Mori and Nathan were solid when called upon and coach Dave did his best Sir Alex Ferguson impression to guide his team through five impressive results.
The next VSSL action takes place January 8, 2011 in North Vancouver as the North Shore Shields and the VSSL host the Kelowna Kodiaks. Will the newcomers from the Okanagan be easy pickings or craftier than the Ogopogo? Stay tuned.
President, Vancouver Street Soccer League
AHA MEDIA at Woodwards community Thanksgiving dinner where today is proclaimed Vancouver Street Soccer League Day on Mon Oct 11, 2010
AHA MEDIA was pleased to attend the Woodwards community Thanksgiving dinner on Mon Oct 11, 2010
Below is Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA with Dennis, a resident of Woodwards SRO
The Woodwards Atrium was beautifully transformed to a gorgeous dining room setting
Irwin Oostindie of W2 Community Media Arts with daughter
Below is Mayor Gregor Robertson with Patrick and Robert of Team Vancouver for Street Soccer
Below is Sarah Blyth with Jim Green speaking about Team Vancouver for Street Soccer that went to Brazil for Homeless World Cup 2010
Mayor Gregor Robertson proclaiming Vancouver Street Soccer League Day on October 11, 2010
Coach Alan Bates writes:
Hi Street Soccer Canada fans,
I bet you thought you’d read the last update. For the last few days I thought you might have already read the last update too. We’re all back home now and things have been busy for everyone. But the welcome back we’ve received from supporters, friends and family has been amazing. Too amazing to not find time for the last update. Thanks so much again for sticking right with us through the rough parts of the tournament and pledging your continued support.
There are more great photos from Sarah Blyth:
Day 11 of our adventure featured the final games of the tournament and the closing ceremonies. In the men’s final, Chile squared off against host Brazil (sorry to anyone who put money on my picks of Mexico and Kenya). One of Chile’s players would go on to be named the top male player of the tournament, but the game was all Brazil. The greatest football nation in the world put an incredible team on the pitch that was lead by their bespeckled keeper who can intercept incoming danger better than a patriot missile. Unlike the traditional free-flowing Brazilian game, there was a clear system being used by the home team. Whenever their defense intercepted the ball, they fed it to the goalie who immediately one-timed it straight up the middle to a striker who always knew what to do with it. I’m sure they make it look easy, but it’s definitely one to add to our playbook for Paris 2011. The women’s contest also featured Brazil in a match-up with fan favourites Mexico. Because Mexico had a men’s team and a women’s team, they always had lots of fan support. And it wasn’t just butts in the seats. The Mexican fans had face paint, whistles, headbands, noisemakers, and, best of all, several Mexican-style wrestling masks a-la Nacho Libre. Unfortunately for the Mexican faithful, the Brazilian women also proved too much for their competition and Brazil walked away with both trophies.
Despite falling slightly short of the big prizes, the Mexican teams were very impressive and there’s a Canadian connection to their success. One of the Mexican coaches got his start in Street Soccer coaching Team Canada. He now oversees a program in Mexico with over 6000 men and women enrolled. Roughly half the participants are women. Though we will likely never have as large a program in Canada, we would like to have more female Street Soccer players. How cool would it be to have a co-ed team or even a full women’s team in Paris? The other thing about the Mexican program that would be great to replicate here is the participation of a major sponsor. TelMex (the Mexican equivalent of Bell or Telus) sponsors the Mexican program and everything about their organization looks first-class as a result.
At the closing ceremonies, each player received a medal and each team including us received a silver plate stating this year’s ranking. We’re number 40! Woohoo! No shame there, believe me. In addition to the men’s cup and the women’s cup, there were some other extra awards for things like best male and female player, top three coaches (guess I bribed the wrong guy), etc. There was also a Fair Play award which went to… wait for it… Canada! There were huge cheers throughout the crowd from all our new friends as we collected our trophy as well as genuine Brazilian national team jerseys for each player and coach. Now, I’ve been around sports long enough to know that awards like this sometimes just go to the team that obviously couldn’t compete with the others and that everyone just kind of felt sorry for. That was not the case here. Our guys earned every bit of that award. Always cheering for other teams. Always cheering and entertaining the crowd. Ambassadors for Canada down every street we walked. Not taking a single card the whole tournament. Always respectful of the officials. The other volunteers and I couldn’t have been more proud of the self-generated genuine Canadian spirit that our players packed with them everywhere they went. Given the background of many of the players and the nature of this competition, I think we can all agree that it was special to receive the Fair Play award.
As the final gathering of all the teams, the closing ceremonies also provided a final opportunity for the players to collect souvenirs from the other teams. If there’s one thing people from the Downtown Eastside don’t need lessons in, it’s trading goods. The guys swapped shirts for bags, flags for pins, shorts for shorts (seriously), hats for wrestling masks, and acquired a huge array of items from around the globe.
Overall, I can only say that the Homeless World Cup was an incredible experience. I think it’s an experience the players will find strength in for the rest of their lives and it’s an experience that couldn’t have been provided without all of your support. To Street Soccer coaches, volunteers, fans, and sponsors right across the country: Thank you so much!
Until Paris 2011,
AHA MEDIA filmed at Team Canada for Street Soccer at Rio Homeless World Cup 2010 Welcome Back Home to Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)
Fans, friends and family joyously welcomed back our Team Canada back from Rio Homeless World Cup 2010 in Brazil! Our boys were very proud to come home and were honored to be named the winners of the Fair Play trophy from the tournament among 65 other countries!! A delicious breakfast for our athletes was catered by Potluck Cafe at Life Skills Centre in Vancouver Downtown Eastside ( DTES )
In this video, Coach Alan Bates of Team Canada for Street Soccer comes home to Vancouver DTES
In this video, Patrick, Co -Captain of Team Canada for Street Soccer comes home to Vancouver DTES
In this video, Peter of Team Canada for Street Soccer comes home to Vancouver DTES
In this video, Peter Davies of AHA MEDIA with Peter Chow of Team Canada for Street Soccer in Vancouver DTES
In this video, Peter Chow with Kevin King of Team Canada for Street Soccer in Vancouver DTES
In this video, Coach Alan Bates Team Canada for Street Soccer coming into LifeSkills Centre in Vancouver DTES
In this video, Rik Mountain of Team Canada for Street Soccer coming into LifeSkills Centre in Vancouver DTES
In this video, Peter Chow of Team Canada for Street Soccer coming into LifeSkills Centre in Vancouver DTES
Patrick of Team Canada for Street Soccer speaking to Media at LifeSkills Centre in Vancouver DTES
In this video, Leo and Patrick speak on Team Canada’s Fair Play Award from Rio Homeless World Cup 2010
In this video, Kevin King, Co- Captain of Team Canada for Street Soccer at LifeSkills Centre in Vancouver DTES
In this video, Frank of Team Canada for Street Soccer at LifeSkills Centre in Vancouver DTES
Coach Alan Bates writes:
Hi Street Soccer Canada fans,
For pictures from a triumphant Day 9, see:http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=494628&id=852065453&l=3e0b843e07
I knew Day 9 was going to go well when we actually left the hostel on time. After our Canada cheer and a quick trip on the Metro, we arrived at the Mellow Yellow hostel for breakfast. The meals there have been really good. Breakfast has generally been cheese, ham, eggs, and hotdog slices in somekind of sauce. Hotdogs in tomato sauce seems to be the classic version, but you wouldn’t believe how many different delicious hotdog concoctions there can be (for dinner as well as breakfast). Our hostel serves a slightly less refined version of the hotdogs in tomato sauce, so we generally made the trip to Mellow Yellow for the higher quality version.
Our first game of the day was against Switzerland. I’d scouted them a bit over the first few days of the tournament and they’d had some nice results: 7-1 over Greece, a win on penalties after a 3-3 tie with Hungary (who beat us 6-1), and 12-1 against New Zealand. I thought we could play with them though. Taking a page right out of the Coach’s Corner playbook, I used our pre-game huddle to ask the guys if they knew why we didn’t have names on the back of our jerseys (true answer is that we didn’t know who all the players were going to be before they made the jerseys). Don Cherry-esque answer I gave the guys: Because you don’t play for the name on the back, you play for the crest on the front. That got a combination of cheers and laughter and I don’t know if it helped or not, but it was fun to say.
Whether because of the Don Cherry-like address, the tomato sauce slathered hotdog bits or some other unknown variable, we came out flying against the Swiss. Our team defence was even better than it was against Mexico. Every time we lost the ball in the other team’s end, someone was right back to put an end to any Swiss opportunism. We were sacrificing the body as shot after Swiss shot was blocked in one fashion or another. There were some rockets that got through our defence, but they would only get so far. With his performance of the week and one that would redefine his level of play for the rest of the tournament, keeper Kevin King stepped it up big time. He was hitting the deck, stacking the pads, flailing out arms, whatever was needed. Switzerland would manage only one goal against him. Unfortunately, the Swiss defence was equally resolute.
In close games like this, you always look to the character players. Having already secured our first win with a hat-trick, Richard Mountain left nothing to chance when he unleashed an unfaltering one-timer from the left side of the net that would send us into sudden-death penalties. With his previoius penalty performance fresh in my memory, it was an easy decision to give Robert Milton the nod for our first shot. It was a decision that wouldn’t be second-guessed as he answered the call by putting it in the upstairs left corner where mother keeps the Toblerones. In the only ending that could do justice to his performance throughout the whole game, Kevin King then came out to the top of the crease, made himself big and gobbled up Switzerland’s only chance to keep the competition alive.
We were ecstatic with our second win of the tournament. It could be argued that New Zealand was a team we should have beat, but this was different. If I knew who any of the Swiss guys were, I think I’d be able to say they have a more skilled team on paper than we do. It was a real gutsy performance with a deserved result. Between games, we celebrated our big win with refreshments at one of the boardwalk kiosks and even did a little congo-line dancing when some musicians stopped by provide some entertainment and take an unreasonable amount of our money.
Our second game of the day was against India. In a familiar pattern, we played another good game against a team that was just a few steps ahead of us in skill and experience. Jeremy Isaac continued his good form with a couple of goals to keep things interesting in an 8-2 loss.
Having taken care of business at the tournament, it was time to hit the beach in Ipanema. We jumped through huge waves, played some football with the locals, caught some rays, and bought some ridiculous items from the roaming beach vendors. Ipanema was followed up by a veritable feast of a selection of fine meats and other delicacies courtesy of Paul Gregory, the head of Street Soccer Canada.
We then retreated to the hostel to get ready for a night out in Lapa. Lapa is a party district filled with restaurants, bars and clubs. The guys were looking pretty stylin’ and we had a fun time wandering through the festive crowds. In the end though, that environment proved a bit too much for a couple of the guys and we cut the night a little early. We needed to re-focus for Hong Kong in the morning.
Coach Alan Bates writes:
Hi Street Soccer Canada fans,
Some of you have probably already found photos for Day 8 at:
Every morning as we leave the hostel, we gather in a circle and someone says something about Canada before we do a 1-2-3-Canada! cheer. You might not have guessed that some or our players are really into the history channel. Things shared in our morning ritual have included Billy Bishop shooting down the Red Baron, Canadians figuring out how to deal with mustard gas, and German POWs being well-treated (apparently with steak dinners?) in Eastern Canada during WWII. Although these are all related to conflicts with Germany, one of our players also told me that he really likes Germans and feels that of all the European cultures, theirs is most like his own First Nations culture. I didn’t get a lot of details, but there must be a Sociology thesis there somewhere.
Day 8 was relatively uneventful from a soccer point of view. We only had one game and I feel like there’s not a lot to say about it. Either that or I’m too tired to remember details. We played Finland, didn’t score, and got scored on a lot. We didn’t have a bad game, they were just a better team and we didn’t get any bounces. I’ve got to emphasize again how good the guys have been at just accepting very lopsided games like this, keeping a positive attitude and moving on.
The highlight of the day came off the pitch with our ride on the Santa Teresa streetcar. It only costs 60 cents (or whatever they’re called here) for an amazing 40-or-so minute trip. After a section of elevated track that makes it feel like you’re slowly floating (in a clunky kind of way) over the city in a streetcar, the tracks wind up narrow curving roads. The scenery includes restaurants, homes, and very impressive street art/graffiti. In addition to the paying customers, scores of kids hop on and off all the way up, barely missing telephone poles and buses going the other way as they hang from the side. Of course, our players couldn’t miss out on that kind of reckless fun so they also had a go at barely avoiding utility poles and side-mirrors. We’ve spent a lot of time near the tournament venue in Copacabana and this felt like a much more genuine part of the city. After the streetcar trip, the Theatro Municipal was also really spectacular at night with lights coming through all the stained-glass windows.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up on the updates tomorrow.
Thanks for your support,