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The Homeless World Cup comes to the US

Words by Tess Becker

While it's called soccer here in the US just about everywhere else in the world calls it football, and it's the most popular sport on the planet. It brings people and communities together, even if they support different teams. Mel Young wanted to use that energy to make a difference when he founded the Homeless World Cup.

“Our vision is for a world without homelessness,” they write. “Our mission is to use football to support and inspire people who are homeless to change their own lives; and to change perceptions and attitudes towards people who are experiencing homelessness.”

Now the Homeless World Cup is coming to the US in Sacramento, California.  The tournament is an annual competition showcasing how sport can be used to create community, bring inclusion and use sport as a vehicle for positive change.

The goal is to challenge the stigma that homeless people face and brings together projects supporting homeless people across 70 countries, and this is the first event in four years thanks to a whole host of world events like the pandemic. 

“It’s fabulous to be back,” says Young. “... Coming together is proof that homeless people are in the same boat. It’s the same thing that’s happening in different countries. It’s like a gathering of the clans I guess. I’m Scottish so I would say that.”

Each year, the network of member countries inspires more than 100,000 homeless people across the globe. More than 500 players participate in the tournament each year, with more than 400 games taking place over the space of eight days.

“It’s a fantastic example of literally thousands of people coming together to make it happen. It’s the football and the simplicity of it.”

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

I Am A Girl NGO. They work to support girls across Barbados. Find out more and support them here

American Forests. A conservation organization focused on preserving and protecting American forests. Support them here.

Cultural Survival. They are an indigenous-led nonprofit focused on empowering indigenous Americans and helping the planet. Find out more

This article aligns with the UN SDG No Poverty.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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