About the Program
In 2007, Project Outreach Team of Washtenaw County sent Sara Silvennoinen to the Street Soccer USA National Organizing Conference to learn about the program. A year later Sara and her newly organized team based in Ann Arbor, MI, were participating with 11 other cities at the Street Soccer USA Cup in Washington, DC. The Street Soccer Ann Arbor Program is partnered with two Washtenaw County Social Services Programs - The Homeless Project Outreach Team (HPORT) which serves the homeless, mentally ill population in Washtenaw County and the Justice Project Outreach Team (JPORT) which serves individuals who are involved with the justice system and need mental health assistance. A key service PORT provides is ongoing psychiatric services, including assessments, consultation, and medication management to individuals who are homeless and those in the justice system who need mental health assistance.
SSPORT teamat the 2011 Street Soccer USA Cup
The Street Soccer Project OutReach Team (SSPORT) is an intensive community outreach team open to homeless teens and adults in Washtenaw County Michigan and individuals who are affiliated with PORT services. Street Soccer PORT's (SSPORT) mission is to use soccer as a way to engage and empower individuals who are homeless, have a mental illness, or are otherwise marginalized in our community. SSPORT's vision is to use soccer as a means of empowerment, wellness, and life-enrichment for vulnerable members of our community. SSPORT looks to be a tool to provide a healthy social activity for people in the homeless community, with the goal of providing a positive and empowering experience.
In comparing data from when SSPort players first came to practice against data from after consistent participation in the Street Soccer program, SSPort has had some truly phenomenal results:
Income benefits increased from 29% to 35%
Employment increased from 3% to 38%
Medical coverage increased from 57% to 95%
Participation in substance abuse treatement increased from 20% to 35%
Participation in mental health treatment increased from 38% to 56%
Open legal cases decreased from 43% to 20%
Homelessness reduced from 57% to 17%
We continually work with our players by "meeting them where they are" to engage with them and help them develop a positive relationship. Over time, we help to facilitate the players in meeting their goals and gaining empowerment and independence in their lives by connecting them with resources, focusing on each individual's strengths, and offering encouragement and unconditional acceptance.
In The Media
Check out some of our features in the Michigan Daily News and on AnnArbor.com! Click on the pictures!
The S.S. PORT Team and coaches pose with two players from the Detroit Ignition who cheered the team on to a 6-6 tie
The S.S. PORT Team (in blue) and Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO—in yellow) Team
line up in front of the crowd before the game
Raul makes an impressive defensive effort as goalie Drew prepares to block the shot
Tal receives his medal from his “shadow sheriff” after the game
Dee Jay fights for the ball before the cheering crowd