Have you met Thomas Yon?
His energy and enthusiasm is infectious, serving as an impetus and change agent among the other players.
Thomas is one of my players on the Street Soccer 945 team that I have known for about a year now. If you don’t know what Street Soccer 945 is, it is a soccer team made up of homeless athletes. We use soccer as a tool to teach life skills, build relationships, and connect our players to resources in the Charlotte community that will help better their living situation.
Even though Thomas is going through a difficult time dealing with homelessness, he has always had a great attitude and quickly became a team leader. When he plays soccer, he plays with such passion and intensity that just watching him is inspirational. That is what makes Thomas so awesome. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious, serving as an impetus and change agent among the other players. While it’s my job to help our players achieve their goals and work with them to improve their life, Thomas is also helping me improve my life as well. He has an unbelievable ability to find the positive in a negative situation, which ends up having a contagious effect.
Recently Thomas returned from San Francisco where the Charlotte team competed against 15 other cities in a Street Soccer USA tournament. While the team played well, Thomas rose above and beyond, winging the “Play with Heart” award as a result of his unrelenting work ethic and spirit throughout the weekend. He was also selected to be on the U.S. National Team at the Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam (September 12-19). The U.S. National Team will compete against 52 other countries. He is so excited to have this chance to play for the U.S. and to have a second chance in life. Thomas has a lot of goals he wants to accomplish and plans to hit the ground running when he returns from Amsterdam.
I asked him 6 questions. His answers are below.
What makes you smile?
A lot of things make me smile, but helping others really makes me smile. I love being part of a team and having the opportunity to help my teammates and when I get established again I can’t wait to come back to the team as a volunteer.
If you have the ability to change one thing about Charlotte, what would it be?
Street soccer fields in every park! I grew up in Charlotte and it has been amazing watching this place grow but I don’t think I would change anything. I am pretty satisfied with how Charlotte is and the direction it is going.
Where would you move to live the rest of your life?
I would move to Colorado. I love being in the mountains and I love to snow ski so Colorado seems like an ideal spot. It is amazing the calming effect mountains can have on a person.
If you could learn to cook one thing what would it be?
That’s a tough one because there is so much good food out there. I would say a perfect hollandaise sauce or a good cheesecake.
What motivates you?
Trying to better myself and change my life is what motivates me.
In one sentence, what advice would you give yourself 10 or 15 years ago?
Try to learn to have balance in your life. It is so easy to get wrapped up in things that are not important and I realize that know.
Where can we learn more about the person you’re introducing or get in touch with them? if you want to get in touch with Thomas the best way is to email me at Streetsoccer945@urbanministrycenter.org
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