Monday, July 18, 2016

Street Soccer USA - Wondo Celebrity Soccer Game Player Ratings

The Street Soccer USA Cup Series completed its third and final 2016 leg this past weekend with a wonderful weekend of soccer at San Francisco’s Union Square.  Street Soccer USA (SSUSA) is an amazing national organization (with International affiliations) that provides a real-world framework of solutions for Homeless and At Risk Youth.  The San Francisco SSUSA has been performing fantastic work for the local community for many years.  In 2010 Chris Wondolowski connected with SSUSA and became their National Spokesman as an outreach based on sports and soccer resonated with Chris. 

This year we worked with SSUSA and the San Jose Earthquakes (among others) to put on a Celebrity Soccer Match in the middle of Sunday’s Tournament Finals.  The venue was on top of Union Square – where two Street Soccer fields were set against grandstands and the beautiful backdrop of the St. Francis Hotel and the rest of the great landmarks.

SSUSA, through its key pillars known as the 8 Street Soccer Skills (Show Up, Play with Heart, Look Up, Take the Space, Build Your Triangle, Praise Great Play, Play the Plan, Adjust the Plan), has built an impressive record of successes in helping Homeless and positively developing at risk youth.  The Celebrity Players demonstrated each of those key pillars on Sunday afternoon.
Before we get into the actual Player Ratings for the Celebrity Match, here are the wonderful people who donated their time and their passion to play in the game:

·         Chris Wondolowski Celebrity Soccer Match – Playing for Social Change
o   Joe Cannon – Former Professional Goalkeeper
o   Chris Dangerfield – Former Professional Forward
o   Todd Dunivant – Former Professional Defender
o   Phil Ginsburg – Current Professional General Manager of S.F. Recreation and Parks
o   Jeremy Gunn – Stanford University Head Soccer Coach
o   Owen Nolan – Former Professional Hockey Player – Captain San Jose Sharks
o   Ted Ramey – KNBR On Air Personality
o   Kate Scott – KNBR, Pac-12 Networks, Comcast Sports, On Air Personality
o   Danielle Slaton – US Women’s National Team Player – World Cup and Olympics
o   Tommy Thompson – San Jose Earthquakes Midfielder
o   Tim Hanley – Professional Soccer Coach
o   David Bingham – San Jose Earthquakes and US National Team Goalkeeper
o   Billy Knutsen – Former Professional Goalkeeper
o   Q – San Jose Earthquakes Mascot

The game was tied at halftime but then Team Wondo pulled ahead in the second half and Team SSUSA could not claw their way back successfully as Team Wondo won 12-9.  Here are the objective Player Ratings for the game (players rated on 1 to 10 scale with 10 being best)  {It’s not the first time these people have been subjected to these journalistic evil ratings so they are used to it}

Chris Wondolowski:  [5.5] – he started out in goal and that was a positional mistake as he didn’t use his hands in the first several minutes.  He was good at getting David Bingham’s shots out of the back of the net.  His field work in the second half elevated his player rating – he and Tim Hanley waged a serious battle.

Joe Cannon:  [8.0] – Joe displayed his field skills and stayed away from goalkeeper (a common theme you will see here) and he was busy filling up the net with his shots from the beginning.  His great first half was impressive.

Chris Dangerfield:  [9.0] – There are two reasons why Danger gets the high rating … (1) He is the television commentator for the Earthquakes games and I’d love it if he just said nice things about my son and (2) His absolute BOMB to begin the second half – {a rocket from his own half of the field that Tim Hanley had no chance on} started Team Wondo on their huge second half run. 

Todd Dunivant:  [8.5] – Todd brought the colorful shoes and the left foot that just scores Street Soccer Goals.  He was a goal-scoring machine on Sunday afternoon and quickly learned the ins and outs of Street Soccer Strategy.

Phil Ginsburg: [9.5] – He scored goals, he helped provide support from The City to SSUSA and he was there in person to show the support of The City.  And, as mentioned, he scored.

Jeremy Gunn: [8.0] – An effective game from the Stanford Coach, brought the cerebral dimension to his team on the pitch.  Unlike just about every other player on the field – he passed the ball frequently which stood out as unique.

Owen Nolan: [9.5] – Man of the Match – Owen Nolan quickly fell into a comfort zone of staying on the offensive half of the field and cherry picking the outlet passes to build up an impressive collection of goals.  Even though his profession included knocking around large men on ice skates – it was clearly not the first time he ever dribbled a soccer ball.

Ted Ramey: [7.5] – Not just a good afternoon from the man with the microphone but also a good week with his on-air support for the event.  During the game he contributed with great insights and context, perhaps going a bit too light on his on-air partner.   

Kate Scott: [8.5] – Kate put in a solid shift and covered more ground than all of the former (and current) goalkeepers combined.  She played on both sides of the ball (a novel approach in the game) and passed unselfishly (an even more novel approach in the game).  She was a bit thrown off at half-time when she didn’t have a microphone chasing one of the players for an interview – but she adjusted well.

Danielle Slaton: [9.0] – Danielle showcased a magic left foot married to an attitude that realized that the score was being tracked.  Her competitive fire combined with some of the best soccer skills on the pitch to put on a clinic for both teams.  She also was a bit lost at halftime without a microphone.

Tommy Thompson [7.5] – Tommy mixed in tremendous ball skills and dribbling displays with an impressive array of errant shots that would qualify him to be one of the Empire’s Soldiers in Star Wars.  For those watching from the 7th Floor of the St. Francis (I think room 732) – would you mind returning the ball that Tommy shot at the final buzzer?

Tim Hanley [8.0] – Coach Hanley put in a full shift – he had Joe Cannon and David Bingham on his team but the line of those who wanted to play Goalkeeper did not exist.  Tim got a great view of some good shots as well as equally great views of some not very good shots that went by him.  But – he did win first, second, and third place in “Saves of the Game”.  Those who play Goalkeeper in Street Soccer always live to regret it.

David Bingham [8.5] – Once David realized that he could shoot the ball at a goal that was being guarded by Chris Wondolowski … it was like he was dropping water balloons from the roof of the school administration building --- one after another after another.  I did have a bit of a paternal instinct to go out there and save my son from further embarrassment … but that feeling went away pretty quickly. 

Billy Knutsen [9.0] – Put simply – Billy saved his team and gave it the victory.  He stepped into goal in the second half to relieve Wondo (who had become exhausted retrieving the ball out of his own net).  Billy made some big saves that helped Team Wondo get out to their second half lead and preserve it – and he was great on distribution.

Q [6.5] – The South Bay Blue Mascot had some great moments – but dealing some of the San Francisco canines (specifically one German Shepard) got the better of him a couple of times.  High points for showing up – next time bring a couple of dog treats though.

Stephen Wondolowski [DNP] – Stephen didn’t get into the game but showed up as a ready-reserve in case some of celebrity players were not able to make it.  Thanks for the support of SSUSA.

Rob Cann and Lawrence Cann [10.0] – The two brothers who started Street Soccer USA and have made it their passion and mission are two of the most inspiring young men you could ever meet. Seeing Union Square transformed into a Street Soccer USA Showcase and seeing the organization’s results makes us all proud.

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