Hailey's Heroes: Homeless World Cup

By: Hailey Frances Email
By: Hailey Frances Email

April 9, 2009

Soccer is the world's sport. Now even the homeless are getting in on the team building and spirit building of the game played across the globe. In this week's Hailey's Heroes we learned how a little sport is going a long way.

You've probably never heard of the Homeless World Cup. Neither had the area's homeless until the Hope Community Center, a place that aids the homeless in Charlottesville, decided to get in on the action. Because of a group of UVa students, they're driving forward toward their first U.S. match.

It's not the soccer match you haul your kids to. Nobody piled into a minivan on their way to practice. It's street-style homeless. Played by area homeless like Darryl Rojas.

"It's a great way to bridge gaps between the UVA students and those of us who use the facility here," says Rojas.

A team in Charlottesville, formed about three weeks ago by UVA students who spend their spare time volunteering at the Hope Community Center, are working towards making it to Washington, DC in July. If it's up to the players and their student heroes, they'd represent the U.S., joining 60 other nations this September in Milan for the World Cup.

"Soccer is the world's game," says Garrett Trent, a UVA volunteer. "People all over the world play soccer, and we really think soccer is a great way to form that team atmosphere."

Willie Cox is hoping to be a team captain. Testing out his soccer skills each week alongside his teammates and these students.

As part of HOPE Community Centers "Meet your Neighbor" program, the newly formed soccer team will hold its first ever homeless soccer event in Charlottesville. For more information on how you can get involved, log onto www.hopecommunitycenter. org.

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