Monday, September 25, 2006

World's homeless star
in global soccer tournament

The idea behind the Homeless World Cup is to instill a sense of pride and discipline in the players through being part of a team and to help them overcome problems in their regular lives.

Nearly 500 drug addicts, alcoholics, orphans and vagrants kicked off the Homeless World Cup soccer tournament, opening a weeklong event aimed at helping society's most marginalized make a new start in life.

Teams from 48 nations, includng the USA, are competing in Cape Town, South Africa.

Research published by the organizers said that of the players in last year's tournament in Edinburgh, Scotland, 94% reported a new motivation in life, 62% were coping better with alcohol and drug dependency, 40% had improved their housing, 38% held regular jobs and 28% resumed their education.

"We really can help change the world ... All we have to do is take a little round ball and start kicking it around," says organizer Mel Young.

This year is the first time the contest is being held in a developing country, where homelessness is usually related to poverty or war rather than the addiction problems of Europe and North America.

Read more here.


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