Street soccer offers second chance for homeless athletes

It may be just a game for some, but for others, it's giving them a chance to thrive.


To some, street soccer may be just another game. But for some homeless and formerly homeless athletes, it's giving them a chance to thrive.

Street Soccer USA is a nonprofit that uses the game as a vehicle for personal development, and helps the athletes move closer to finding jobs, housing and an improved quality of life.

"So we'll provide a real small element of soccer, and it just kind of sparks them, gives them a little bit of joy," said Lisa Wrightsman, of Sacramento Street Soccer.

Jennifer Schapira is just one many who is benefiting from street soccer. She's a recovering addict currently living in transitional housing.

Schapira said finding a family in the street soccer community is helping her push toward recovery.

"I'm free from drugs and alcohol 19-plus months," Schapira said. "It's the longest I've had in a decade. It was amazing to find people that didn't want anything from me. They just wanted me to be happy and succeed, and pull myself up out of death's door."