Thursday, 19 June 2014 12:52

World Cup Kickoff LA - Celebrating the Beautiful Game and the Power of Soccer for Change

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America SCORES
A national education and literacy program operating in 13 US cities, America SCORES "empowers students in urban communities using soccer, writing, creative expression, and service-learning, and inspire youth to lead healthy lifestyles, be engaged students, and become agents of change in their communities." America SCORES students write more than 20,000 original literary works every year and share their work at spoken word events in their communities and around the country.



David Joseph and Aaron Kaufman from America Scores (photo courtesy of Goody Awards)

The team from America Scores Los Angeles organized a unique Soccer Poetry Contest for the guests, encouraging people to share their passion for soccer through a simple "haiku" (5-7-5 syllables). Three finalists read their poems on-stage to the crowd, and the winning entry of the night was actually penned by a member of one of the other nonprofit soccer orgs in attendance, Street Soccer USA:

TITLE: Goals, we make those
Line 1 (5 syllables): We turn out and play
Line 2 (7 syllables): Who that? Street Soccer LA
Line 3 (5 syllables): We score for some change

America Scores showed everyone how soccer is poetry in motion as well as words. For more information, visit

Street Soccer USA / Jovenes, Inc.
Another national program, Street Soccer USA uses soccer as a tool to address homelessness, support underserved youth in urban areas and special needs populations. In the Los Angeles area, the Street Soccer program is run by Jovenes, a shelter and at-risk home in the Boyle Heights area.

Street Soccer USA has a unique opportunity for fans to win a trip to the World Cup Final (yes, the final!) through a fundraiser in conjunction with the Tony Sanneh Foundation. All of the details are at Get in on this quick as it ends on 6/26, and you could find yourself in Rio on July 13th for the final.


Eric Hubbard from Street Soccer USA/Jovenes (photo courtesy of Goody Awards)


Special Olympics Southern California / Unified Sports
Special Olympics is a global nonprofit org that many are familiar with for their work in providing sports competition for people with intellectual disabilities for over 40 years. There's a relatively new initiative that Special Olympics International has launched, that joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team, promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition.

In November of this year, the inaugural Special Olympics Unified Football World Cup will be held in Malaysia, featuring 24 teams from 6 continents around the world. The goal is to "build a culture and environment of togetherness through the common language of sport so that no individual in society is left behind because of their disability." Several key sports partners have joined forces with Special Olympics International to make the Unified Football World cup happen, including FIFA, Asian Football Confederation and Olympic Council of Malaysia. For more details, visit


Special Olympics Unified Football World Cup is a US-based nonprofit that partners with underserved communities around the world to build simple soccer fields for youth without safe places to play. The crew from has been hard at work building soccer fields across Brazil as part of a legacy program for the World Cup, and one of their biggest supporters has been Brazil & Inter Milan star Hernanes. Just prior to the World Cup, he helped raise over $30,000 for by offering a trip to Brazil to meet him and his teammates. And he matched every dollar raised up to $25,000.

Hernanes involvement with earned him a coveted "Golden Goody Award" from the Goody Awards. The Goody Awards are social good awards and this is their top honor - like an Oscar for social good. And since Hernanes wasn't able to join us at the event (he had a game about 9 hours later in Brazil ;-) the Goody Awards filmed guests wishing him congrats on his award in multiple languages. Check it out...


Street Football World
An international network of over 100 nonprofits and NGOs who use soccer as a tool for social change, streetfootballworld had just wrapped up a big event of their own in NYC, Beyond Soccer. But they were here in LA in spirit and support, as a unifying force in the soccer for good world. Their ability to encourage collaboration and sharing of resources and best practices for soccer nonprofits is unparalleled. Get the full details on what they're doing, both around the World Cup and throughout the year across the globe at

Two great Social Enterprise soccer companies were on-hand to support the event with all kinds of cool SWAG for the attendees...

Pass It Forward Soccer is a Southern California based not-for-profit company that provides soccer balls to communities in need through a "buy-one, give one" model. Some of the beneficiaries of the "give one" balls have included Boys and Girls Club of Pomona, American Hatian Foundation, Special Olympics North Dakota, as well as NGOs in Rwanda, India and the Philippines.

Senda Athletics is a Northern California based manufacturer of Fair Trade Certified soccer balls, training gear & apparel. Fair Trade Certification means the soccer balls are made in a facility that pays fair wages to the employees, offers proper benefits, provides support services such as day care for children, and adheres to environmental standards.


Pass It Forward Soccer and Senda Athletics

Soccer is a game that has always had an artistic quality about it, and we showcased that through our affiliation with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Their "Futbol: The Beautiful Game" art exhibit examines soccer and its significance in societies around the world, and includes 30 artists who work in video, photography, painting and sculpture. If you live in or are travelling to Southern California, this is a must see exhibit for soccer fans. Open now through July 20th.


Futbol: The Beautiful Game at LACMA

In all, this was a great night to celebrate soccer and all that it means to the world and to the local community here in Los Angeles. Check out the full gallery of photos from the night here and our TagBoard following the #WCKLA hashtag.


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