A World Cup for the Homeless

If you aren’t currently rooting for a team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, you’ve definitely heard of the enormous international soccer match that proves that soccer (better known as “football” around the world) is a way of life for many.

But have you heard of the Homeless World Cup?

With poverty rampant in today’s world, the Homeless World Cup literally changes peoples’ lives. Sure, if the Spanish national team fails to win the FIFA championship again this year, lives will be “forever changed” and people will be depressed for days.

But the Homeless World Cup is a soccer match that tries to actually change the way homeless people live and give them a better chance at succeeding in life.

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So what exactly is it?

The Homeless World Cup sets up soccer games and training programs for homeless people on almost every continent.

This organization creates soccer training programs for homeless citizens and runs tournaments to select the best players in each nation. These players will form a national team to be sent to play at the international Homeless World Cup.

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This awesome cause was created in 2001 to energize homeless people to take control of their own lives. Living without a home can shift a person’s focus to mere day-to-day survival as opposed to long-term change, which causes stagnation in many homeless peoples’ lives.

Becoming a part of a team, communicating with others, and working towards a goal can turn a person’s life around. As stated on the Homeless World Cup website:

“When a homeless person gets involved in football, they build relationships; they become teammates who learn to trust and share. They have a responsibility to attend training sessions and games, to be on time, and to be prepared to participate. They feel that they are part of something larger than themselves.”

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We love the fact that this organization is using soccer to change lives. Just read some of the success stories of countless formerly homeless people who now have secure jobs and are achieving lifelong dreams.

Or watch this absolutely amazing documentary called “Kicking It,” which highlights the Homeless World Cup and was entered into the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. We’ve attached a trailer to the film below:

You can also get involved by donating to or fundraising for expanding soccer programs and tournaments.

We think this is a super creative way to help battle the claws of poverty for people all over the world. Gather a group of homeless and hopeless people together and throw in a ball, and suddenly you’ve got a team of motivated and spirited players who will apply this motivation to other aspects of life. If you’re a soccer fan, make sure to tune in for the Homeless World Cup, which will be held in Chile in October 2014.

Ariana Mozafari

Contributing Editor, The American University of Paris Major: Journalism Her heart belongs to: Paris and the French lifestyle, her family, her friends that stay connected no matter how near or far, and kitties. And Adventure Time, of course. Take her away to: A sunny tropical paradise on the beach. Just the sight of the ocean makes her laugh with giddiness.

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