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Homeless Athletes Achieve Goals at Soccer Tournament

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Teams of homeless players from across the country face off in downtown D.C. as part of the 2010 Street Soccer U.S.A. Cup.
Jessica Gould
Teams of homeless players from across the country face off in downtown D.C. as part of the 2010 Street Soccer U.S.A. Cup.

By Jessica Gould

The Street Soccer USA Cup has kicked off in downtown, D.C. –bringing together homeless athletes from across the country.

The annual competition has all the trappings of a typical soccer tournament. There’s the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

And boisterous fans fill the stands.

But for the players -- who are homeless -- the event isn’t just about scoring goals. It’s about setting them. Street Soccer USA founder Lawrence Cann explains.

"On a basic level, you learn really practical work skills through sports. You have to be prepared for work every day. You have to be sober and focused. And to be accountable to your teammates, you have to do the same thing," Cann says.

Cann founded Street Soccer several years ago in an effort to build trust and community among the homeless.

There are now 19 teams across the country.

And this weekend, they're all in D.C. -- competing for the national championship and for spots on the U.S. Homeless World Cup team.

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