Friday, June 03, 2011

Change is the Name of the Game

Maria Cuomo Cole  Sheila Johnson  Susan Koch

By contributor Brendan Kownacki

While Washington is usually known as an advocacy town rather than a sporting one, Wednesday night’s Sport for Social Change Awards at the Embassy of France was the perfect occasion to meld the two.

An enthusiastic crowd gathered to toast honorees for this year's awards and support the benefiting causes, Street Soccer USA and Help USA.  The causes themselves pride themselves with a slogan that “ending homelessness is a team sport” and tries to use the practice of organizing team sports activity to lift people out of impoverished situations. Washington D.C. will play host to the Street Soccer USA National Cup later this month, with the winning team eventually heading to Paris for the world championship.

Honorees for the evening included Washington Kastle’s owner Mark Ein (receiving the Philanthropy through Sport award) and former Washington Redskins player Troy Vincent, honored for his leadership in Sports.

Former Trenton New Jersey (hometown of Vincent) Mayor Douglas Palmer was on hand to tout the young NFL star and praise his virtue and charisma when it came to sports. Mayor Palmer, who describes himself as a man who likes to use curse words said that talking with Vincent inspired him to “not want to swear” and in his presence he found himself using phrases like “oh shucks.”  It is that inspiring attitude toward change that drives people like Vincent and other attendees to support causes like Help USA and spur social evolution through sportsmanship.

For more information on Street Soccer USA visit and be sure to check out the National Cup on June 10-12 at Washington Kastle’s stadium.