Throughout the neighborhoods of Norfolk – from Park Place and Norview, to Shoop Park and Lambert’s Point – are kids growing up looking for things to do and ways to express themselves. Norfolk Street Soccer was conceptualized out of an initial awareness of the lack of access to soccer in the area. Driven by passion for community and love of the game, Have A Good Day sought out partners to facilitate access to soccer as another outlet of activity and expression for the local youth.
This past Saturday, Have A Good Day partnered with The Perfect Play, Heir Wave Music Group, and The Veil Brewing Company to host an overwhelmingly successful Norfolk Street Soccer event right in the parking lot of The Veil. Event donations and sponsorships went towards the “Play Your Position” project which provides opportunity, soccer clinics, appropriate gear for young athletes in Hampton Roads. The “Play Your Position” project was established by Dupe Hall, who is passionate about the game, and even more passionate about supporting the next generations and making a difference in the community.
At 2 pm, the lot quickly began to fill with hopeful patrons. Soccer players warmed up and DJs tuned their sound to best suit the vibe. Norfolk reminded everyone that nothing can be perfect as the area was humbled by a brief downpour of rain lasting just over 10 minutes. Readily prepared for this worrisome weather, however, event coordinators remained cool and calm, setting the tone for the entire event and upholding the strong sense of community that is felt throughout the city of Norfolk.
Positive energy, amazing music, delicious food, and healthy competition filled the atmosphere. Everybody that came to the event came and went with a smile and pride to be a part of such an exceptional evening.
Music started off with renowned Dj Davy Wreck, who spun a selection of house and electronic music that provided an atmosphere akin to being in a game of FIFA. The upbeat energy of the soulection-esque music kicked off spectators feeling lively and the games getting energized. Next on the DJ line up came Bloodmatic, a duo comprised of Dj Blood Diamond and 1-Hunnered brought a boiler room style of Djing to the event. The duo’s house and electronic sounds were mixed in with some R&B and hip-hop influence.
Moving into the evening hours, Vega spun next. His set was a mix of of today’s coolest hip hop and vibed out electronic music complementing the event’s twilight atmosphere. The modern touch of today’s rap artists such as Young Thug fused with electronic mixes kept the event lively heading into the final matches. Dj Supladies closed the event bringing his quintessential diverse range of music selection. Playing music from around the world, reggae, music from India, Latin, dancehall, and hip hop, people danced as the Final match got underway leading to an astounding finish.
As for the main event – the soccer games themselves – teams “Vibes FC” and “The People’s Choice” came out on top as they dominated their way to the championship round. The two squads put on a phenomenal display of immense, gritty skill and talent in the compact space of the court. Two teams battled with “Vibes FC” ultimately being named champions. Cristian Rodriguez, originally form Honduras and a member of the championship team,”Vibes FC”, spoke very highly of the event’s uniqueness, saying, “I don’t really see soccer in the United States. I have been seeing events like this in the fieldhouse or just among Hispanic people, but this is the first time I’ve played a street soccer event like this.”
We also had the opportunity to speak to Ethel Delacruz, Have A Good Day founder, and Mark Kalagayan, Have A Good Day member. “I’m super happy. Collaborating with influential people in the community is powerful and special,” said Delacruz. She went on to emphasize that soccer can bring people together just as well as any other sporting event. Kalagayan offered his sentiments, saying, “It’s a collision of culture and community. We’re trying to take a sport that is not so culturally diverse, and bring Hip-Hop culture, street culture, street fashion, and this neighborhood altogether and help shape it to how it is viewed all over the world. I didn’t grow up playing [soccer], but I have been a big fan for 12 years now, and for people around the world, it doesn’t matter what you look like. When there is a ball on the court, none of that stuff matters. You’re just there to play the game. We wanted to change the narrative, so for people that can’t afford to play, we wanted to make it accessible because soccer is a true world sport that anybody can play.”
The event also featured local vendors including Alex Gozar, founder of Plant Is Life is Life, who sold exclusive soccer ball planters in lieu of his usual basketball planters in addition to a “Plant Is Life” shirt. Other vendors included Eric Wiggins, Doddie Braza, and Bryan Woodland, founders of Thank You Gallery, who sold Thank You Gallery shirts in two unique colorways along with 1 of 1 shorts for sale.
A direct illustration of our embracement of community was shown this past weekend at The Veil Brewing Company. Have A Good Day in partnership with The Perfect Play, Heir Wave Music Group, and The Veil Brewing Company created an opportunity for locals, tourists, and enthusiasts to receive the first-hand experience of the heart of Norfolk.
Written by Sydney Stewart, Ryan Cyrus, and Cameron DeLoatch