The 10th annual Homeless World Cup takes place from October 6th-14th in Mexico City. Matches will take place in the heart of the city, at the Zócalo, also known as Plaza de la Constitución. Three street-soccer stadiums, each with a capacity for over 5,000 spectators, were built especially for the tournament.
The tournament is a tremendous opportunity to show the world how how football can be used as a catalyst for changing people’s lives. At the same time, the tournament also helps change the perceptions and attitudes many people have about the homeless.
Since 2003, over 250,000 have participated in year-round football programs which set out to empower homeless people to change their own lives. In the lead up to this year’s World Cup over 50,000 players have participated in programs worldwide. Each year over 90% of all participants report their lives have indeed changed for the better.
Here’s what two participants from the Street Soccer USA National Team have to say about what taking part in the Homeless World Cup means to them:
Tony from Street Soccer Tulsa: “I have been blessed. Soccer has always been my greatest passion. Because of my poor decisions, I lost my dream of playing college soccer after just one season at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Now, I have soccer again and I have a team again. I need to be part of a team, a community. I believe that I am at my best as a member of a team.”
Jaydee from Street Soccer San Francisco: “I feel like my hard work is paying off. I just got promoted in my job and got a scholarship for college. There are people that believe in me through tough times and those are the people that I surround myself with now. My heart beats for those people, like my soccer coaches. I am going to keep proving my worth everyday.”
You can be sure that this year’s event will include more amazing and inspirational stories from players from all over the world. Below you will find more facts about the Homeless World Cup as well as links to follow on social media and live feeds of tournament matches.
* Mexico City 2012 Homeless World Cup (54 nations): Argentina, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA, Wales, Zimbabwe.
Mexico City 2012 Women’s Homeless World Cup (14 nations): Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Hungary, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Paraguay, Chile, USA.
* Games of two halves of 7 minutes each plus one minute interval in between. Teams can be all male, all female or mixed always consisting of 8 players in total with a maximum of 4 players per team on the court (3 + a goalkeeper).
* Winning teams get 3 points while the losing team gets 0 points. If the match ends in a draw, a sudden-death penalty shoot-out will decide the winner. In the case of a result determined by a shoot-out, the winning team will get 2 points and the losing team will get 1 point.