Sarah Blyth's North Vancouver street soccer tournament portfolio
Fresh from the beach, where they were searching for potential
logs to carve, and before getting warm with coffee, Sarah Blyth and the
Portland FC, a soccer team made up of men and women who are
either homeless or are at risk of being so, took the time to chat about the North Vancouver street soccer tournament, an annual event hosted by the North Shore Salvation Army Shields.
On Saturday, January 8, the tournament took place at John Braithwaite
Community Centre. Five teams took part: the Portland FC, the K-Town Kodiaks, the North Shore Salvation Army Shields, the Aboriginal Friendship Centre, and Portland Phoenix, woman-only team. They played five games per team amongst each other.
Most players from the Portland FC soccer team are recruited
from shelters run by the Portland Hotel Society.
Patrick Oleman, Portland FC player, standing beside Kurt Heinrich in second photo, has been with the team for a year and two months.
"I was always interested but never had a team to play with. Once I joined the Portland FC, I went from just playing twice a week to playing everyday," said Oleman.
Rick Mountain, another Portland FC player says that he "played soccer for most of [his] life but it's the first time that [he's] playing for a team."
"It helped me clean up my life. I was into drugs and alcohol. It has also helped me get better housing. I have a one year old son." He then added, "We support each other here."
Both Patrick and Rick played in Rio at the Homeless World Cup where 63 teams took part.
Portland Phoenix was the only one women's street soccer team, but they
held their own.
The K-Town Kodiaks, a soccer team from Kelowna that has been around for about two months, came to Vancouver for their very first game. Portland FC hosted a pancake breakfast to welcome the team pre-game.
Kailin See helps with the breakfast in the top photo.
And finally, Aboriginal Friendship Centre, which also has a drop-in team centre and is part of Vancouver Street Soccer Leauge, (second to the last picture), took the trophy home.