August 11, 2012. (Romereports.com)
Mel Young and Harald Schmied decided in 2003 to improve the living conditions of homeless people by a creating a World Cup of soccer they could all take part in. It has become a foundation that helps the most disadvantaged through sports.
Every year they hold a soccer championship that gathers homeless from across the world. The games show how the soccer ball can bring about change in many different ways.Homeless World Cup
Player (Namibia)“I was struggling to survive, and one day in this fight, picking up empty bottles, these people called me and said 'we are looking for people who want to play a World Cup football homeless'. Then I said 'I can play, I can try'. And so I went to the World Cup for homeless people. So I started playing.”
Their goal is to join and support charities in specific projects through soccer. They work together with 73 different institutions from around the world.
The last edition was held in 2011 in Paris. The next is planned to take place in Mexico of this year between October 6th and the 14th.
Sixty-eight teams will be present in this year's tournament, the biggest number of participants since 2003.RAPHAEL MUNJAB
Team Captain for Kenya (Homeless World Cup)“It's a dream I never dreamed of. It's amazing! It is an achievement. I never thought I could even fly, I always only saw them pass over me. This is the first time I fly, it's amazing.”
To help finance the project, NGO's provide assistance, as well as many former professional soccer players like the French forward Eric Cantona and Rio Ferdinand from Manchester United.
The Homeless World Cup is another example of how sport can bring out some of our best virtues.
Homeless World Cup