Hundreds of soccer players from around the world took to the field today to compete in the Homeless World Cup, The twenty-year-old international tournament is being hosted, in 2023, by “California State University” in Sacramento, the capital of the state of California. To participate you must be homeless or be in a rehabilitation center.
The tournament, which involves 40 teams and runs until July 15, is organized by the Homeless World Cup Foundation, an association that aims to eradicate homelessness through sport. Under this, there are more than 100,000 players participating in various leagues around the world. Five hundred of them will attend the games in Sacramento.
“The ball is a unifying force. It’s so powerful, and in my opinion it can be used to tackle some of the world’s most serious problems,” said Mel Young, co-founder of the Homeless World Cup Foundation. Homeless World Cup Foundation”, which he believed was a community trying to de-stigmatize homelessness.
The foundation confirmed that the players in the Sacramento tournament are refugees, asylum seekers, or people who have been forced to live in shelters or on the streets because they cannot afford a home. Among them there Fakhruddin Muminovich Who represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 2019 Homeless World Cup in Wales. His father and 150 other people from his village were killed in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, and since then he has spent most of his life in refugee camps.
Sienna Jackson He will play for Team USA. She grew up playing football but family conflicts forced her to sleep at friends’ houses or in parks. It was the homeless youth center “Sacramento Winds Youth Center” that steered her towards soccer that helped her rebuild her life.
Tournament participants always belong to organizations in their home country that support them mentally and physically and help them find a job or a home.
It is the first time that the Homeless World Cup will be held in the United States. Last year’s tournaments were hosted by South Africa, France and Denmark. The cup is divided into two divisions, men’s, mixed and women’s. Matches are played with four players per team on a court more similar in size to a tennis court than a traditional soccer field. As a result, matches last only 15 minutes each, They are faster and more goal-scoring than traditional tournaments.
The final match will be held on July 15, five days before 32 teams take to the field to participate in the ninth edition of the FIFA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
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