Play Soccer 2 Give’s (PS2G) National Director Caleb Olson believes he is one of the Homeless World Cup’s biggest fans. On hearing about the tournament through the South African documentary Kicking It, Olson went on to volunteer at the Paris Homeless World Cup in 2011. Enthralled by the event’s social mission, its unique opportunity and ability to bring the world to one city and to use football to help people connect, Olson went home to quit his job and begin a career with a mission of using sport for good.
Both Olson and PS2G Volunteer Game Leader Shahar Golan from New York City have led three friendly ‘global games’ across the tournament. The first friendly was an opportunity for players to have a kick around, acclimatise, and get to know other footballers outside of their own team before the tournament’s launch. It was a special experience for all seven teams who took part—the games took place on top of a rooftop, against the beautiful Mexico City skyline.
PS2G is a not-for-profit creating adult pick-up football (soccer) communities primarily across New York, but the organisation is growing its reach across five other US cities. PS2G games are five-minute play-offs costing participants £5, with all proceeds going towards helping other football non-profits raise funds and build awareness. PS2G now has over five thousand actively playing members, with fundraising football games played seven days a week.
Creating a “local game with global change”, PS2G’s fundraising achievements have now provided players with numerous unique and invaluable opportunities, including a scholarship in sports sciences to a young Colombian footballer, supporting a USA street soccer footballer to attend the Homeless World Cup in Norway last year. This year, PS2G is proud to have been able to support the USA’s men’s and women’s teams in getting to Mexico City.
Words: Deborah May
Image: Daniel Lipinski