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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

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Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

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Homeless World Cup has raised a million people out of poverty through soccer

2017-01-03

These peoples' lives have completely changed in a matter of months thanks to a soccer ball. They were homeless, or at risk of social exclusion, but now, they are players competing in the "Homeless World Cup." Through this initiative, many say they have regained their self-esteem and their desire to live.

The championship was created in 2003 and it now hosts teams from over 75 countries, where they have created schools to help train participants. Every year, they celebrate a world cup where only the best from each of their schools are able to compete.

The president, Mel Young, is witnessing how the participants have improved their lives after entering the organization.

MEL YOUNG
Founder and President, Homeless World Cup
"One day in my city I get on the bus and the bus driver says to me, "Hello Mel!” And I go, "Who are you?” He says, "You don't remember? I was on the training for the football and then I got on the team.” And oh yeah, I remember, but I didn't recognize him because he had a uniform. And he said: "Yeah, now I trained to be the bus driver, now I have a job as the bus driver, I have a flat where I'm living and also I'm engaged to be married, so my life is completely different.”

This is the magic of soccer. Some have become professional players, others have studied a specific career and others have found a job and are now forming a family.

As a result, many familiar faces have joined this cause as ambassadors.

Even Pope Francis has recognized their work and their fight against poverty in the conference about sports and faith held at the Vatican.

POPE FRANCIS
October 5, 2016
"I am pleased to know that present at the conference are the founders of the Homeless Cup and other foundations that, through sport, offer the most disadvantaged a possibility of integral human development.”

The main objective is to give a second chance to people who, for some reason, have lost control of their lives.

MEL YOUNG
Founder and President, Homeless World Cup
"It's more about the change from becoming homeless to be living in our world so I believe there are two worlds: the 'have not' world and the 'have' world.”

One example is Peter, a 22-year-old young man who at age 16 escaped from being trapped in the world of drugs.

PETER MAALAND
Captain of Norweigan team
"You lose yourself, you forget who you are and you lose friends, family... They don't want anything to do with you. I couldn't play football which I loved. I still got a long way ahead of me but I can see the light in the end of the tunnel... There is a way out and this Homeless World Cup and the Norweigan team shows that there is a way out and you don't have to struggle alone.” 

The 2017 Homeless World Cup will be held in Oslo, Norway, where they are once again expecting thousands of people with the desire and ablity to change their lives.


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