NEW YORK CITY (July 28, 2017) - Beyond Sport presented Soccer in the Streets' Station Soccer - the first soccer pitch in the world inside a metro system - with the Sport for Innovation and Technology Global Award. The announcement was made this week during a ceremony at the One World Observatory at the apex of the One World Trade Center, converging grassroots sport organizations, brands, professional sports teams, leagues and athletes to celebrate the courageous, creative and impactful work being done around the world using sport to promote and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Digital assets of Station Soccer found here.
From 250 entries spanning 70 countries, the Atlanta-based social impact soccer organization - Soccer in the Streets - distinguished itself for its innovation and impact, epitomizing how sport can help tackle some of the most pressing social issues in the world today. The ceremony was highlighted by a stellar line up of presenters to include: Donna De Verona, Olympic Gold Medalist; Nastia Liukin, Multi Olympic Gold Medalist; WWE superstars Nia Jaz and Sami Zayn and 4-time Heavyweight Champion of the World, Evander Holyfield.
"It's such an honor to be recognized by Beyond Sport with this prestigious global award," said Sanjay Patel, Soccer in the Streets Board Member, who visioned Station Soccer as a way of connecting transit and soccer to provide access to the sport for all. "Collaborations through partnerships will be critical in moving the needle in the field of social impact sports. Fortunately, our local partners Atlanta United Foundation and MARTA were believers - now the train really has left the station!!!"
Established by Soccer in the Streets, an organization dedicated to empowering underserved youth through sports-based training, character development, mentoring, and employability programs, 'Station Soccer' - located at MARTA Five Points - centers its innovative efforts on holistic free youth programming for developing skills both on and off the pitch. The project aims to eliminate accessibility barriers for low-income families often marginalized from organized sport programs due to lack of transportation and affordability. The venue provides access to quality soccer and educational programming to underserved children through a pay to play adult league social enterprise model.
The field, funded by the Atlanta United Foundation, and brought to fruition thanks to partnerships with MARTA and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, has become a blueprint for community activation and social impact soccer efforts in urban areas.
Nick Keller, Founder and President of Beyond Sport said, "Now, more than ever, all sectors need to contribute to the UN SDGs and we believe that it is crucial to shine a light on the role sport is playing in this endeavor. Tonight's winners and shortlisted organizations show that throughout the world, sport can be harnessed to improve lives and create sustainable social change in a remarkable way."
Thanks to the support of Comic Relief and Swedish Postcode Lottery, Soccer in the Streets will receive funding from the Beyond Sport Foundation, as well as receive business support including fundraising from GivenGain and monitoring and evaluation intelligence from Upshot.
"This is certainly a new high for us as an organization," said Phil Hill, Soccer in the Streets' Executive Director. "We are looking forward to working hand in hand with the Beyond Sports Foundation and key partners in order to execute our development and expansion plan. We are pursuing for more opportunities and platforms to impact underserved youth; we have seen the power of sports to achieve social change and we will continue to harness it."
Soccer in the Streets provides access and opportunities to disadvantaged children in urban neighborhoods. Using soccer as the medium, the social impact soccer organization has instilled healthy lifestyle choices to thousands of children. Since 2016, Soccer in the Streets has impacted over 7,500 kids, while launching the first Homeless Soccer Program of the Atlanta metro area.