By Rebecca Bollwitt
The Vancouver Street Soccer League uses sport to uplift, inspire and empower marginalised members of the community. Local street paper Megaphone explored its history and impact.
First things first: The Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL) is not a league, and they don’t play on the street. What they do is transform “the beautiful game” — a nickname for football popularised by Brazilian player Pelé — into a beacon of hope and camaraderie for those in the Canadian city’s Downtown Eastside.
“I first got involved because I saw something that, in a way, was a very simple model, but it could be so impactful in people’s lives,” says Sarah White, VSSL’s president, who has served as a volunteer and board member for more than 10 years.
The grassroots, volunteer-run organisation uses the power of sport and community to uplift, inspire and empower marginalised people: those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and people in active cycles of recovery from drug or alcohol addictions.
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