New York, NY - Anyone who tells you that Soccer hasn’t made it in the United States has no idea what they’re talking about.
Just to be clear, American Soccer isn’t only based on our citizens History. Nor is it based on our professional leagues. American Soccer is based on the History of everyone who lives in the United States regardless of their citizenship.
From the days of the immigrant clubs to the rise of Soccer Moms coast to coast, American Soccer has endured and evolved. With soccer being the most played sport in the United States and the most watched in the planet, the beautiful game has endured.
From the athletes who currently marvel us with their skills, to the writers & photographers who over time have documented both written and visual, our imagination and love for this game has evolved. Even with all the television coverage and YouTube clips flooding the World Wide Web, the hunger pangs to spread the sport of soccer is very much alive.
While it’s easy to denigrate a sport where it’s fairly young in the United States, it’s easy to ignore the goodwill that this sport continues to produce globally, Nothing was more evident of this than on Monday April 16, 2012 at Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theater.
On Monday, 15 Poet-Athletes representing the 15 cities spread throughout the United States participated in the 6th Annual America SCORES National Poetry Slam. While some writers for a certain journal believe that Soccer is dying and ruining the United States, America SCORES is utilizing soccer to help the disenfranchised that the masses of our society often tends to treat as wallpaper.
Seen but not often heard, 85-90% of America SCORES participants live below the poverty line. The demographic breakdown of the children they’re serving are 50% are Hispanic, 34% African-American, 5% Caucasian, 5% Asian-American/Pacific Islander, 3% bi/multiracial and 3% identify as “other”.
Hosted by United States Men’s National Team legend John Harkes who along with Musical guest Psalm One, the Historic Atmosphere of the Apollo Theater was filled with passion, love, humor, messages performed by these young Poet-Athletes.
A year ago, I attended the 5th Annual America SCORES National Poetry Slam. Sitting with the audience, I had a marvelous time. For this year, I wanted to do something different and unique. So I decided to cover this year’s Poetry Slam from behind the scenes.
While none of them dribbled a soccer ball that evening, they did a marvelous job in dazzling and wowing the audience with their words. For many of these young performers, a piece of paper is similar to a soccer field in the sense that it’s the only outlet for them to truly express themselves. The same manner a pitch allows a player to play, a piece of paper empowers them to hone their skills as they explore their creative capacity.
From watching these Poet-Athletes warm up, they were enthusiastically focused and prepared to deliver to the audience their message. As they joined the likes of James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, and Duke Ellington to set foot on that famous stage, these children were poised and eager to entertain the audience while making their relatives proud.
Not only was each poet fantastic, their message was clear and direct. Since I was behind the scenes, I had the privilege of interacting with them and learning about their passion for writing and soccer. In addition, I learned many of their origins and their future aspirations. Following the show, they were treated like the Poet-Athletes that they are as they signed autographs and posed with several members of the New York Red Bulls.
For a more detailed recap covered by fellow writer Chris Doben of TotalFootblog.com, please click here.
The only thing that isn’t being downsized nationwide is the need for donations & volunteers. So if you’re able to help America SCORES in New York or in any of their 15 sites, please do so. To learn more about America SCORES, please go to:http://www.americascores.org