Over $150,000 raised to support sustainable free youth soccer programs in Atlanta
ATLANTA (June 13, 2018) – The Eighth Annual Soccer in the Streets ATL Champions League event was held on Sunday, June 3rd at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground and the home side – Atlanta United – gained revenge by defeating Manchester United in a rematch of last year’s championship match-up. However, the main goal of the event was raising funds to bring soccer to lower income communities while leveling the playing field for children regardless of socioeconomic status.
The tournament helps Soccer in the Streets provide sustainable free youth soccer programs that cultivate change, education, and empower youth. Hosted by Atlanta United, the event raised over $150,000, breaking last year’s record total of $136,000.
“It’s a credit to our many participants who worked hard to raise money and give of themselves today with this great event,” said Bill Ford, Soccer in the Streets’ Events Chairman and Board Member. “To see so many amazing people come together for a common purpose and driven by their passion for the game to help us in our mission of giving all children a chance to succeed is inspirational.”
ATL Champions League 2018 featured 12 teams and over 150 participants. They represented eleven international clubs, plus Atlanta United, as they battled it out for the title both on and off the pitch. Leading the way in fundraising again was the Liverpool side sponsored by Meehan’s Public House, raising a team total of $35,000. Atlanta United came in a close second with just over $33,000. The top two fundraisers were both members of the Liverpool side, Paul Hourigan and Ben Butler, and they raised more than $13,000 and $10,000, respectively. For Hourigan, it was the second consecutive year as the event’s top fundraiser, edging Butler who was the top fundraiser for the event’s first six years.
“What Soccer in the Streets does for the community is so powerful,” said Hourigan. “I was blessed to play the game growing up in England and play at the college level. What this program provides for kids who may not have the opportunities that I had is special. And, all of the money raised goes to the program so that they can offer the best coaches to the kids who get the chance to play this great game.”
“I love the game,” said Butler, who is also a member of Soccer in the Streets’ Board of Directors and has been involved in the program for eight years. “Having played as a kid in England and seeing how the game can impact lives is why I continue to be involved. Soccer in the Streets program provides so much more than just soccer. It is using the game to provide opportunities for the kids to play, learn and grow. I am still in awe of how the program helps so many kids realize that they must have a structure in their day-to-day lives.”
Behind the competitiveness and fun of the ATL Champions League is the most important aspect of this tournament: raising funds for Soccer in the Streets to bring soccer to lower-income communities, providing sustainable free youth soccer programs that cultivate change, education, and empower youth.
"The ATL Champions League tournament continues to provide a wonderful opportunity for our staff, our neighbors and our community partners to compete against quality competition and raise money for a tremendous organization," said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “We are proud to host the tournament at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground and to support our partner Soccer in the Streets, an organization that positively impacts a broad range of local youth through the game of soccer.”
Since 1989, Soccer in the Streets has used soccer as the medium to instill healthy lifestyles and positive choices to thousands of children in the metro Atlanta area. With a holistic approach, the organization centers its programs on character development, life skills, mentoring, and employability. The local non-profit ensures all children have a chance to succeed on and off the field. Since early 2016, Soccer in the Streets has provided upwards of 6,000 children with after school soccer-based educational programs in underserved communities.
About Soccer in the Streets:
Soccer in the Streets empowers underserved youth through sports-based training, character development, mentoring, and employability programs. We reach kids on the field, in small-group classroom sessions, through hands-on experiences and activities, and participation in youth leadership councils. Equal access to quality soccer training and educational opportunities, as well as leveling the playing field across the board, are also key elements in our core mission. For more information about Soccer in the Streets, visit www.soccerstreets.org, or follow us on Twitter at @soccerstreets and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/soccerstreets/.