Steve Nash Receives Sport for Social Change Award

by Christina McClintock
(Cambridge, Mass)

Two-time NBA All-Star and seven-time NBA MVP Steve Nash may be best known for his exploits on the basketball court, but tonight at the Sara Roosevelt Park, the point guard will be showing off his skills on the pitch before receiving Street Soccer USA's award for Sport for Social Change on Friday. Nash, Wigan Athletic's Emmerson Boyce, and the Promotion Factory will be taking on a team from Street Soccer USA that features homeless and formerly homeless athletes.

The Street Soccer squad will feature athletes selected to represent the United States at this year's 64 Nation Homeless World Cup to be held in Paris in August.

"I expect a competitive skillful matcha, and I am sure the players will defy any stereotype you have about who the homeless are and what they are capable of," said Venanzio Ciampo, president of the Promotion Factory and organizer of tonight's event.

It was Ciampo who nominated Nash for the Sport for Social Change Award, which he will receive tomorrow at the French Cultural Embassy. Nash founded the Showdown in Chinatown, which was first held in 2008. The 2011 Showdown benefits Educare Arizona, one of the nonprofits Nash's own organization, the Steve Nash Foundation, serves.

“Steve is a first rate human being who understand the power of sport to affect social change. Through this match, Steve is showing everyone who is homeless that they are not alone in their struggle and that a ball can change their life,” says Street Soccer USA founder Lawrence Cann.

The Sport for Social Change Awards, founded in 2010, recognize exceptional individuals and organizations that leverage the power of sport to achieve measurable social good. Past awardees include top athletes who have achieved far-reaching impact in their community such as the NFL’s Troy Vincent, Sports Owners like Sheila Johnson who has empowered women and abroad and domestically through sports, and grassroots change agents like New Yorker Chris Lodgeson who has overcome homelessness, finished college, and now coaches and mentors others in the situation he was in.

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