The homeless can now go from the streets to Street Soccer USA.
For a few years now, the Sacramento Lady Salamanders street soccer club has been helping women and children get off the streets. Now though, they have received a big assist from the Sacramento Republic FC.
Not just financial backing either. The entire business model. From money, to marketing, to guidance and mentor-ship along the way.
"We're a little bit of a start-up," explained Erika Bjork, who is the V.P. of marketing for Republic FC. "And this is an opportunity for us to also help another local start-up."
Bjork was on hand Wednesday evening at Hot Italian in midtown as part of a fundraiser for Street Soccer USA. The relationship between the two goes back several years, but the assist they are now providing the community can't be measured on any stat sheet.
"We've changed lives, families have gotten back together, kids have been introduced to a totally different idea to what life can look like," said Tiffany Fraser, program director for Street Soccer USA. "And what having a full chapter here in Sacramento means is, more lives changed, period."
One of those lives changed belongs to Jessica Adams, who just began playing for the Lady Salamanders.
Adams is not long removed from a life on the streets as a homeless drug addict. She said street soccer gave her hope.
"Myself being one of them, and now how much light I have. I have energy and light in my eyes again..passion and how happy I am today. It's a change."
With the help of Republic FC now, resources are going to be expanded and street soccer will be in more communities in the Sacramento region.
The hope is to begin by the spring with a full-blown league for both women and youth.
Said Bjork: "This is one example of how sports can be a positive conduit to help our city and help it grow..as well as help individuals grow."