Looking back, leaping forward

Jill Robbins, Chief Program Officer

By all accounts, 2016 was a breakout year for Soccer in the Streets.

From our young leaders representing our work on a world stage in Lyon, France; to inaugurating the world’s first mini soccer field in a transit station. It was a quantum leap from the humble beginnings of those first clinics, bringing the world’s game to inner city Atlanta neighborhoods 27 years ago.

As a pioneer in sports-based youth development, we’ve been constantly evolving and innovating in order to change lives and communities through soccer. And 2016 was no exception…

        Leveraging the launch of top level professional soccer in Atlanta to reach hundreds of kids in elementary schools, giving access where none existed before.

        Using “the game with three halves” to bridge communities and cultures, provide leadership opportunities for young people and teach how “fair play” can be restored to sport.

        Removing even more barriers by providing all programs, including community-based leagues, for free.

        Installing a top-class 5-a-side soccer field in an urban location, creating a sense of community and integration, promoting healthy activity, sustainability and inclusion.

As we hurtle into 2017 with the momentum of such a trailblazing year, it bodes well for what is on the horizon.

        Hundreds, even thousands more kids will have access to opportunities to experience ‘the beautiful game,’ learning vital skills, engaging their families and connecting to a bigger world.

        The next wave of young leaders will take the reins of mentoring, officiating, planning and preparing for the next stage of their paths to success.

        The oft disparaged city core transit station will continue to be a hub of activity with the new field bringing the neighborhood to life with soccer, music, arts, social connection and community spirit.

        Atlanta will become the center of the ‘soccer world,’ bringing together the world of soccer for social change and making its mark on the sector in a sustainable and meaningful way.

Even faced with such ambitious plans, the team is energized and excited about the prospect of serving so many more young people in such inspired and significant ways.  It is also gratifying that so many dedicated coaches, supporters and partners are making this incredible growth and quality possible. 

Most important is the joy and confidence that we see in the kids on a daily basis as they learn and grow playing the sport we all love. 2017 is going to be bigger than ever and we look forward to having you along for the journey.