By: Jess Coughlin, guest staff writer
Lebanon Valley College will host the area’s first ever street soccer tournament.
Over the past several months, LVC students and juveniles from the Lebanon Youth Advocate Program, known as YAP, have worked together to organize this large-scale event. The tournament will take place on Saturday, Dec. 3, in the Arnold Sports Center. Opening ceremonies, including an introduction to street soccer, will kick off at 8:45 a.m. Festivities are expected to conclude around 5 p.m.
The partnership between YAP and LVC is rather new. It was forged in 2015 by Professor Sharon Arnold, Head of the Sociology Department, and Robert Swanson, the Executive Director of the Lebanon Youth Advocate Program. The goal of the partnership is to provide the children at YAP with pro-social role models and to give LVC students a chance to see the effects of inequality first-hand.
“I was always concerned that [the students] could not really see those patterns [of inequality],” Arnold said. “As a result of their involvement with YAP, they have a real exposure to the situation.”
Philip Berry, a criminal justice major and biology minor, is also part of the team organizing this event.
“I feel like the effort that all the students in the class put towards this cause is substantial and it will lead to a fun day at the sports center,” Berry said.
Though competition might seem an unorthodox way of teaching respect, the program has proven to be successful in several countries and communities across the globe.
The gist of the rules are as follows: two teams will compete against each other, with both teams having previously agreed on a set of rules that dictate the play of that specific match. What makes street soccer different is that, while goals matter, even a team who loses in points can still win the game. Respect for each other and adherence to the agreed upon rules can win a team up to 3 points toward their overall score.
“The goal of street soccer is to introduce a fun environment through sports, as well as the structure that comes along with making your own rules, and abiding by those rules throughout the completion of the game,” Berry said.
For the tournament, teams of eight will compete against each other with the winners of the tournament being awarded a prize.
Organizers emphasize that the tournament is open to all skill levels, ability levels, sexes, and to all individuals ages 13 and up. Spectators are also invited to attend, as there will be plenty of food and opportunities to win raffle prizes.
For more details on this event or if you are interested in learning more about the LVC/YAP partnership, please visit yapinc.org/streetsoccer or http://www.lvc.edu/news/details/sociology-students-mentor-and-bond-with-local-youth-during-capstone-project/.