Scoring for Social Good: Highlights and Heroes of the Street Soccer Foundation in 2023

2023 in review

What a year we had at the Street Soccer Foundation, with our work growing to support
new audiences, some memorable events held to celebrate football’s ability to change
lives and the launch of several new projects and partnerships.

As 2024 gets underway, here are ten of our highlights from 2023:

Playing at The Home of England Football

The Street Soccer Academy Cup in May gave young people who were homeless or at
risk of homelessness the chance to play at St George’s Park to mark the completion of
their Street Soccer Academy programmes.

They gave presentations about how the academy programme had helped them
overcome difficulties in their lives and boost their self-confidence before representing the professional football club community organisations that had hosted their academies in a
tournament on the David Beckham Pitch.

The West Ham United Foundation were crowned champions after beating Salford City’s Foundation 92 in the final.

Expanding our work in schools

Junior Academy

Our work to help improve the lives of young people grew through our Junior Academies.
This included the launch of our Street Soccer Community School programme – through which selected pupils in years seven, eight and nine took part in a combination of football coaching, interactive and educational workshops and one-to-one mentoring.

The programme involves a series of weekly sessions designed to use football as an anchor to engage and inspire participants to improve their self-belief, behaviour and confidence, with modules focusing on topics including building resilience, being a team player, managing stress, coping with change and communication.

Premier League star joins Street Soccer Academy session

César Azpilicueta

Former Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta discussed mental health with our Street Soccer Academy participants at the Chelsea FC Foundation, in a special wellbeing workshop focusing on growth mindset. The Spain international took part in a virtual question and answer session as part of the event, which was held in partnership with Virtual Soccer Schools.

New fundraising cup for travel industry

Travel Utd Cup
Teams representing companies from the travel industry came together to compete in the
inaugural Travel United Cup and raise funds for the Street Soccer Foundation and international water charity, Just A Drop, which works to provide access to sustainable and safe water solutions and sanitation facilities overseas. The tournament, sponsored by Visit Malta, was held at Crystal Palace’s National Sports Centre in July and won by Golfbreaks.

Holiday camp fun for all ages

Holiday Camps

Thousands of children and teenagers enjoyed a range of activities on our Street Soccer
Stars Activity Camps held in Kent and Medway during the school holidays. Activities included cookery, crafts, sports and music and, for the first time, some camps were split into younger and older age groups to tailor the offering to those specific audiences.

The free camps were held for children receiving benefits-related free school meals and also included a free breakfast and cooked lunch.

The launch of Football For Good

Marlborough House

Football For Good was launched at Marlborough House as part of the Commonwealth’s ‘Year of Youth’ project, marking 50 years of the Commonwealth Youth Programme – which delivers support to help the 1.5 billion under-30s living across the Commonwealth reach their full potential.

Football For Good aims to use football as a catalyst to transform communities through youth development, education, peace and unity and, in its pilot year, we saw the power of the sport being celebrated in many of the 56 Commonwealth member countries – including our own event held in London on Football For Good Day.

The first Football For Good Day

Football for Good Day

The London Stadium hosted the inaugural Football For Good Trophy and more than 100
young people from ten Street Soccer Academies took part in the tournament, held to mark the first Football For Good Day on November 19.

The five-a-side competition saw Street Soccer Academy participants from Chelsea FC Foundation win the final in a 3-1 victory over Salford City’s Foundation 92 on the main London Stadium pitch, while GAME and Microsoft hosted an EA Sports FC 24 gaming competition and a live stream showcased other football events being held around the Commonwealth to mark Football For Good Day.

ICT industry unites for The Big Goal

The Big Goal Launch
The launch of The Big Goal saw ICT companies from across the country come together
to form a unique partnership that will see them support Street Soccer Academies while
representing their firms in a national football tournament. The Big Goal was announced
at a launch event held at St George’s Park, with previous Street Soccer Academy
participants and Premier League winner Danny Simpson sharing their experiences about
football changing lives at the launch.
 
The initiative involves participating firms sponsoring academy places for vulnerable or disadvantaged young people through their entry fees, while also having the opportunity to meet and potentially offer those participants work experience at their companies. The ICT firms will compete in regional five-a-side competitions held at Premier League and English Football League venues before a finals tournament is held at St George’s Park during 2024.

Academy participants receive boots from England international

Saka Boots

Arsenal and England winger Bukayo Saka showed his support for the Street Soccer Foundation by donating more than 100 pairs of football boots from his New Balance boot range, for Street Soccer Academy participants to wear on Football For Good Day.

The PFA Young Player of the Year is known to be passionate about supporting access to football and football equipment for other young people and he donated the boots after hearing about our work.

Amazing support from our valued sponsors and fundraisers

Sponsors and Fundraisers

Fundraising and sponsorship were crucial to enabling our work to support disadvantaged
and vulnerable young people to grow throughout 2023.

We as a charity are incredibly grateful to our sponsors, including FM Conway and Giacom, and independent fundraisers, such as the family of football coach Roy Harman who collected donations for our charity in his memory, for all their support – which has seen the lives of many young people transformed this year.

A review of 2023 from our CEO

Keith Mabbutt

Last year represented a level up for the Street Soccer Foundation, with the charity becoming internationally recognised through its partnership with The Commonwealth and the establishment of our new Football For Good global initiative.

In terms of our Academy programme too, we brought on new additional club partners to help even more communities across England.

Now, as we move into 2024, the Street Soccer Foundation is ready to continue making a difference and improving outcomes in the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged young adults and children – now throughout the world.

Our work is set upon inspiring, empowering and positively impacting as many young lives as we can to help improve life skills and communities locally, nationally and internationally for the better by using football as the catalyst.

And, with the launch of the Big Goal alongside our Football For Good endeavour, we are firmly committed to helping bring an end to youth homelessness.

With the support of so many fantastic partners, sponsors and supporters, I know we will achieve even more this year.

Together, Changing Lives Through Football.

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