By Ryan Maquiñana
Special to S.F. Examiner
The San Francisco Glens’ Rei Dorwart has been selected to represent the club at Street Soccer USA’s 2019 Unity Match this Sunday afternoon at Civic Center.
The game, which starts at 2:30 p.m. and will be hosted by San Jose Earthquakes legend and Major League Soccer all-time leading scorer Chris Wondolowski, will feature a roster of Bay Area luminaries, from soccer stars like U.S. National Team player Nick Lima to city officials like SF Recreation & Parks Department general manager Phil Ginsburg.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the Unity Match and have the chance to play alongside Wondo and everyone else,” said Dorwart, a San Francisco native who had another productive season with the USL League Two side, including a game-winning assist and goal on a separate occasion. “It’s an amazing event and for a great cause so I hope people come out and support.”
The Unity Match is just one of the highlights of the day-long Street Soccer USA Cup, which is an outdoor 4-on-4 tournament where teams of various age groups and backgrounds converge on the organization’s mobile street soccer stadium located at Civic Center between the Main Library and Asian Art Museum.
With several competitions (the Social Impact Cup, Youth Cup,Corporate Cup and Open Cup) occurring at the same time on two different fields, the event celebrates not only the diversity of the San Francisco soccer community, but also Street Soccer USA’s overall mission.
“The Unity Match that follows our youth cup final is always a high point of the Cup because it highlights what Street Soccer USA does best—promote and practice teamwork,” said Chief Impact Officer Rob Cann. “The match brings our corporate employment partners, city partners, professional soccer clubs and the community together in one place to play for bigger goals and drive the street soccer mission to use soccer as a vehicle for social change.”
Street Soccer USA is a national nonprofit that provides support for youth ages 6-18, as well as marginalized populations—namely homeless families, special needs populations and people in recovery.
Since its establishment in 2009, the program has reached over 15,000 youth and adults, providing opportunities to play the beautiful game, but also academic and social services. SSUSA also serves as the official partner for international tournaments, such as the Homeless World Cup and the Street Child World Cup. The organization’s focus is on the at-risk population of youth living below the poverty line, which hovers around 33 percent.
Cann and his brother Lawrence, Street Soccer USA’s founding CEO, have developed the organization from one program in Charlotte, N.C. to a nationally-recognized nonprofit in 16 cities today. Now based out of San Francisco, Rob — a University of San Francisco Sport Management alum — has also been an integral part in growing I PLAY FOR SF, a nonprofit, adult amateur soccer league that offers both men’s and co-ed recreational and competitive levels.
However, this Sunday, the Street Soccer USA Cup and the Unity Match take center stage.
“We hope to see some exciting touches from some of our best athletes in the Bay Area, and for our non-pro athletes, a lot of blue cards — the Street Soccer USA invention awarded for fair play and teamwork,” said Cann.
Learn more about the organization and see how you can get involved at streetsoccerusa.org.