ATLANTA (September 21, 2017) – Soccer in the Streets and The Andrew J. Young Foundation - with the support of the U.S. State Department, Sports Diplomacy and The Audacity Agency - hosted a Sports Diplomacy Summit, aimed at bringing people together through the universal language of sport and learn how conflict resolution, social inclusion and leadership on a field can be translated into other areas.
The Summit, held at Station Soccer at MARTA’s Five Points Station, provided the opportunity for more than fifty African-American, Latino and Refugee children from metro Atlanta to participate in this cultural exchange with children from Cote d'Ivoire and Niger; all thanks to the power of soccer in uniting people from different backgrounds. The main goal was for this diverse group “to play for a purpose”, understanding the application of education concepts of soccer in conflict resolution.
“To partner with the Andrew J. Young Foundation in order to bring cultural exchange through soccer to our community is truly special,” said Phil Hill, Soccer in the Streets’ Executive Director. “We know how powerful sports are in terms of shaping young minds and instilling positive behavior; harnessing that power to promote cultural enrichment, inclusion and diversity to our kids is one of our main goals."
Soccer in the Streets and the Andrew J. Young Foundation employed a tool known as football3 - a three halves, no referees’ game – an ideal concept to run a Sports Diplomacy Summit. Football3 focuses on fair play, equality and teamwork, empowering young people with the skills they need to also flourish off the pitch. Soccer in the Streets focused this particular football3 engagement on four core values: respect, perseverance, empowerment and enjoyment.
“Great to see International Relationship being developed through Sport”, said Heloise Ahoure, Event Coordinator for the Soccer Event of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. “ Playing soccer not only to score a goal, but to learn how to listen and work as a team for a common goal is one of the value our kids sweated for during the game. The Andrew J. Young Foundation and Soccer in the Streets ultimate goal was to introduce our delegation coming from Cote d’Ivoire and Niger to “Play For a Purpose” and learn about social inclusion, conflict resolution and leadership on a field.”
By coming together with the Andrew J. Young Foundation, which supports and promotes education, leadership and human rights in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean, Soccer in the Streets aims to continue to provide – through the power of soccer for good - access to underserved children in the metro area, ensuring their development both on and off the pitch.
“It’s a very unique and spectacular occurrence when two different organizations can come together to create an experience for youth from two different continents and walks of life,” said Pharlone Toussaint of the Audacity Agency. “Sport has always had the power to make a lasting impact in the lives of youth. It’s an honor to see and support programs that intentionally use it to do bring those things to life.”
International Delegation to join Homeless Soccer Program at Station Soccer
As part of the Sports Diplomacy Summit, the international youth delegation - comprised of children from Cote d'Ivoire and Niger - attended Soccer in the Streets’ Homeless Youth Soccer League at Station Soccer – Five Points (MARTA). Since kicking off in March, the Homeless Youth Soccer Program has seen 500+ youth come to Station Soccer, attesting to the necessity of these types of programs in cities like Atlanta.
“As ‘Station Soccer’ was becoming a reality, we saw the challenges here and wanted to be a force for good,” said Jill Robbins, Soccer in the Streets’ Chief Program Officer. “We’re in their neighborhood and we wanted to make sure that these young people felt included, not judged. This is our opportunity to walk the walk when it comes to inclusiveness and demonstrating that all kids deserve the chance to succeed,” Robbins added.