Vancouver Street Soccer League – More than JUST soccer

Post by Emel Tetiker, SFU CSCD Practicum Student

The Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL) is more than just a soccer program, it is a way to engage with and provide a safe and fun environment for people who are homeless, at risk of being homeless or facing adversity. In a recent conversation with Charles MacGregor, founder and coach of the North Shore Salvation Army Shields team, within the VSSL, he explained the importance of providing a space for this community to talk, listen and support each other. What the league offers – an inclusive, fair play, non-competitive game of soccer, followed by a meal with teammates – provides just that. It is clear after speaking to those involved in the league, that it is indeed not the soccer, but the sense of belonging, dignity and hope instilled in participants that is central to the success of the league and the importance of this program aimed at often the most marginalized individuals in our society.

Bridging the Gap

While emergency and outreach services exist in the community to meet the essential needs of the homeless or at risk, the Vancouver Street Soccer League helps bridge the gap between those in need of support and the local service providers. Through the participation of volunteers from various sectors of the homeless outreach community, players have the ability to seek out guidance and appropriate resources. VSSL also provides a unique setting to engage with youth, often considered a high risk sector of the community, as they face the risk of what is often referred to as “aging out” of the system and loss of support services. By welcoming youth into the program through the Covenant House team, VSSL has the opportunity to help these individuals bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood through fellow player mentoring and access to support systems.

Fun, Food and Friends

At a recent presentation, Director, Dominique Falls, outlined “The Three F’s”, integral to the Vancouver Street Soccer League. First of all, the league strives to provide a fun environment to relieve players, at least temporarily, of any troubles they may be facing in day-to-day life. In this relaxed environment, players learn to trust each other, build support networks, and most importantly develop long lasting friendships, such that they may have never experienced before.

Food, the final and vital component of “The Three F’s”, is provided to players at every game and practice. As Falls, creator of the first ever women’s program, rightly notes, “You can’t ask someone to run 10 km and not provide them with food after. You can’t ask someone to come and play in a soccer tournament all day and not provide them with breakfast and lunch and dinner. “ While some meals are provided by local partnering organizations, the league is always in need of additional food or in kind donations. Falls emphasized that currently the majority of donations received by VSSL go towards food for players.

2014 Canadian Street Soccer Games

Championed by Charles MacGregor, North Vancouver will be host to the first ever Canadian Street Soccer Games from May 29-31, 2014, bringing teams from as far as Toronto and Northern BC to the North Shore. As it can be very costly to send players to the partnering Homeless World Cup each year, the Canadian games will provide players with a similar experience but on a much smaller scale.

Already generously supported by several local organizations including North Shore Salvation Army, North Shore Alliance Church and Mickey McDougall Community Recreation Centre, the league is just in need of two more player lunch sponsors. Either prepared meals or monetary donations are welcome!

Anyone interested in providing meals for or making in kind donations to the tournament or the Vancouver Street Soccer League throughout the year should contact North Shore Salvation Army Shields coach and 2014 Canadian Street Soccer Games programmer, Charles MacGregor at 604-679-1506 or

To learn more about the Vancouver Street Soccer League:

View this informative slideshow created by VSSL Director, Dominique Falls.
Visit the VSSL website
Follow VSSL on Facebook and Twitter

Support the 2014 Canadian Street Soccer Games Coming to North Vancouver this May!

For the past six years, through international tournaments and city leagues Street Soccer Canada has been working on including those, who may otherwise be excluded, through physical activity and sport. Their yearly national soccer tournament aims to develop soccer skills while at the same time looking to more broadly develop inclusive strategies to empower and instill hope as well as to improve team, communication and health.

The 2014 Canadian Street Soccer Games are coming to North Vancouver May 29th – 31st and Street Soccer Canada is in need of event sponsors!  This includes sponsorship of breakfast, lunch and dinner for the 11 homeless teams (approximately 150 players) who will be visiting from across the country.

We invite you to join community members, sponsors and the awareness group at an upcoming information session where you can learn more about the tournament and the benefits of this fantastic program:

Date & Time: February 20th at 7 pm

Location: Alliance Church at 23rd & Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver

Please direct inquiries regarding the tournament and sponsorship opportunities to Charles at 604-679-1506 or

We encourage you to forward these details to any local businesses or individuals who may be interested in supporting the Canadian Street Soccer Games.

For more information on Street Soccer Canada, please visit:

Homelessness Action Week Schedule: North Vancouver

Homelessness Action Week is a Canada wide event, and it provides an important opportunity for the Task Force to reach out to the community and raise awareness about homelessness and support for initiatives to address it. As with any awareness raising event, the intention is not to think we can solve a problem in a week, but to start a conversation that will last throughout the year. We aim to let community members in need know about the services are available to them, to inform all community members about how they can help, and to enhance the awareness about homelessness and its solutions across the North Shore.

To this end, we have put together an exciting program which is intended to build partnerships with the business community and provide opportunities for community members to make a meaningful difference within their community.

Find a printable schedule and poster here (pdf file).

Monday October 8, 2012 – Thanksgiving Dinner – Everyone Welcome
Lookout Housing Centre 705 West 2nd St. – Time: 5pm-6pm

Tuesday October 9, 2012 – Dinner and Music
North Lonsdale United Church 3380 Lonsdale at Osborne – Time: 5:30pm to 6:45pm
Please call 605 985 4911 to reserve your spot by Noon on Monday.
Please use lower door from parking lot.

Wednesday October 10, 2012 – North Shore Connect
Salvation Army 105 West 12th Street – Time: 8am-3pm
Breakfast: 8am Lunch: 1pm
Health Clinic, Foot Care, Flu Vaccines, Clothing Vouchers, Shoes, Socks, Hygiene Kits, Hair Cuts, Housing Outreach, Employment Programs, Eye Exams, Income Assistance Help, Fitness Access Cards, Counselling/Mental Health programs, Drug/Alcohol Programs, Smoking Cessation, Lung Testing, and more!

Wednesday October 10, 2012 – Youth Dinner
Youth Safe House – Time: 5pm-9pm
Activities, Outreach, Hygiene Kits, Flu Shots
Open to All past and present youth

Thursday October 11, 2012 – Mother & Kids Lunch
John Braithwaite Community Centre Shoreline Room 145 West 1st – Time: 11am-2pm
Hair Cuts, Clothing Vouchers, Employment Programs, Counselling Programs, Fitness Access Cards, Free Child Minding.

Thursday October 11, 2012 – Megaphone/Hope In Shadows Vendor Training
John Braithwaite Community Centre 145 West 1st – Time: 1pm to 2:30pm
Earn Extra Cash! Megaphone is a magzine that homeless and low-income vendors by for 75 cents each and sell for $2. Hope In Shadows is a calendar that homeless and low-income vendors buy for $10 and sell for $20. The City of North Vancouver recently approved vending in some areas. If you’d like to be a vendor come for a training session and recieve 10 free copies of Megaphone and 1 free Hope In Shadows calendar to get yourself started. Limit of 16 participants. First come, first served.

Thursday October 11, 2012 – BC Children in Poverty: A Panel Discussion
Royal Canadian Legion, 123 West 15th – Time: 7pm to 9pm
Hosted by CFUW North Vancouver

Friday October 12, 2012 – Movie and Discussion Night
Ambleside Youth Centre 1018 Marine Drive, West Vancouver – Time: 7pm
Film Presentation and discussion about homelessness in our community

Saturday October 13 – Street Soccer Exhibition Game
Hosted by the Salvation Army at Norseman Field 2310 Lonsdale Ave – Time: 1pm-4pm
Teams from North Shore and across the lower mainland
Street Soccer Rules
Dinner after games for all players hosted by Salvation Army