Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of coaching the Street Soccer U.S.A. national team at the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. It is always an amazing experience being at the Homeless World Cup, but this year was a little more special. For the first time, the U.S.A. team was able to implement a curriculum called the B.A.L.L program. The B.A.L.L. program consisted of team building and group discussions around four major topics: being a Believer, being an Ambassador, being a Leader and leaving a Legacy. One BALL can change the world. The goal was to empower our players to return to their cities and make a difference in the community, big or small.
It was also special because we had so many Charlotte representatives there as well. We had three members from Charlotte travel to join the Player/Staff Support Team (two were volunteers who were moved to purchase tickets based on their investment in the street soccer program) to enhance the experience for the U.S.A. team. Lauren Mihan led the way, with contributions from Street Soccer 945 Coach, Tyler Corn, and super-volunteer, Matt Sharp.
While we all enjoyed the experience, I think it was Street Soccer 945’s Mamadi Conneh who became the best ambassador from Charlotte. While it was a 4+ year process to get Mamadi the documents needed to travel, it was worth the wait. Knowing five languages, Mamadi went from team to team introducing himself and making new friends. Coaches were constantly talking to me about Mamadi. He especially took a liking to the Holland, Grenada and Ivory Coast team. They even shot a short feature with Mamadi playing with the Ivory Coast team. He also showed up to the fields with the traditional Scottish garb: a kilt and a tartan bonnet….. which made him famous amongst the fans! He was constantly asked for pictures.
It was a great experience for all and was amazing to be surrounded by such positivity in a time of such turmoil.