Street Soccer welcome dinner

On August 13, eight DioCal congregations came together at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, to host the annual World Cup of Soccer Welcome Dinner, an event honoring homeless and formerly homeless youth and young adults who have changed their lives through Street Soccer USA. An Episcopal Charities Action Network grantee, Street Soccer USA is an evidence-based program that uses soccer as a means of transferring essential life and job skills, leading to improvements in educational achievement and employment outcomes. 

Nearly 200 players and coaches from throughout the nation gathered in Gresham Hall for a gourmet meal prepared by a team led by chefs Douglas Nelson and Jonathan Gerfen. Members of Grace Cathedral, St. Luke’s, St. Francis, St. Aiden’s, St. Mary the Virgin, Holy Innocents, and Trinity + St. Peter’s — all in San Francisco — volunteered as table hosts, servers, and clean-up crew. After dinner, Street Soccer players shared moving stories of life transformation through participation in SSUSA programs. 

Andy Lobhan, Minor Canon at Grace Cathedral, led the all-volunteer effort, with help from many San Francisco clergy and lay people. “It was wonderful to see so many San Francisco congregations working together to welcome Street Soccer to San Francisco,” said Kathleen Piraino, Executive Director of Episcopal Charities. “We really are better together!”