SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski has become the National Ambassador for Street Soccer USA (SSUSA), an organization that teaches life and job skills to the homeless. To date 75 percent of participants in SSUSA connect to jobs, housing, or further education within a year of play.
The 2010 MLS Budweiser Golden Boot winner will serve as the lead spokesman for SSUSA’s efforts to rehabilitate the homeless. Wondolowski will be most heavily involved with Street Soccer USA-Bay Area, although he is expected to make appearances nationwide. He has also pledged a $50 donation for each goal he scores during the remainder of the 2011 MLS campaign. The Earthquakes will also match Wondolowski’s donation to bring the total to $100 per goal for the remainder of the season. Fans can join Chris’s goals campaign by visiting www.streetsoccerusa.org/wondochallenge and making a pledge of their own. The Earthquakes organization has pledged to match.
“I could not be more excited about this opportunity to work with the Cann brothers and the entire SSUSA organization," Wondolowski said. "With the help of the Earthquakes and Soccer Silicon Valley we hope to make a significant contribution to SSUSA. I realize every day how lucky I am in every facet of my life - I am blessed to be able to play professional soccer and the fact that I can play here in my hometown is beyond incredible. My wife, Lindsey, and I are fully committed to this remarkable group. I think I speak for my coaching staff and teammates when I say that we hope that my $50 per goal pledge will end up being several hundred dollars this year.”
Street Soccer USA works with the homeless in 20 cities across the country and 75 percent of participants connect to jobs, housing or further education within a year of play. The program builds community and trust through soccer while empowering participants to set goals and transform their lives.
“Chris converts a lot of half chances into goals on the soccer field," Street Soccer USA Bay Area Director, Rob Cann said. "His efforts with street soccer have already inspired our players to convert their chances and to achieve their goals in life.”
Wondolowski's announcement comes on the eve of Street Soccer USA's participation in the 64-nation Homeless World Cup in Paris, France August 21-29. SSUSA hopes Wondolowski's involvement will inspire the public to help them raise the final money so that its top achieving participants can represent the United States. Supporters can donate online at www.streetsoccerusa.org/donate.
Street Soccer USA (SSUSA) (www.streetsoccerusa.org) is sport for development program of HELP USA, which believes ending homelessness is a team sport. Through a systematic approach, SSUSA Builds community and trust through sport with participants and volunteers, transforming the context within which they live from one of isolation, abuse, and marginalization to one of community, purpose, and achievement, requires participants to set 3, 6, and 12-month life goals, and empowers participants by providing access to services and educational/employment opportunities through our Jobs Academy.
Street Soccer USA Cup
Programs train twice weekly, go out in the community to compete in local leagues with volunteers, and unite annually at the biggest sport for social change even in the United States, the 18-city Street Soccer USA Cup. Select program ambassadors, male and female, represent SSUSA in various amateur tournaments, including the Homeless World Cup, each year