The Sacramento City Council on June 27 presented a resolution to Street Soccer USA, Sacramento, honoring the organization’s work to help stage the upcoming Homeless World Cup, running July 8-15 on the California State University, Sacramento, campus.
First played in 2003 in Graz, Austria, the Homeless World Cup is the landmark street soccer event presented by the Homeless World Cup Foundation, an umbrella organization for a network of charities that conduct year-round street soccer programs for men, women and children experiencing homelessness.
“It is a tremendous honor to host the Homeless World Cup in Sacramento,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “This unique competition shows the power of sports and the power of the human spirit. In our collective frustration about homelessness, unsheltered people too often get stripped of their humanity. The World Cup shows a different side. Everyone can be part of a team; everyone can participate; everyone can work hard to overcome and strive for a better life.”
The Sacramento event will be the first Homeless World Cup held in the United States and the first hosted by a university. Previous host cities have included Paris, Mexico City, Melbourne and Oslo. The tournament was cancelled 2020-2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 500 athletes from 50 countries will participate in this year’s tournament. Many of the players are experiencing or have experienced homelessness. Playing on teams helps people experiencing homelessness find purpose and community and supports them in improving their lives, officials said.
Street Soccer USA, a national non-profit organization working in more than a dozen U.S cities, is the Homeless World Cup’s American partner and features a robust program in Sacramento.
“Street Soccer USA, by building trust and teaching life skills on the field, helps people experiencing homelessness develop their own human capital, access supports and services, and ultimately achieve housing stability and a positive social network that sustains them,” said Lawrence Cann, CEO and Founder of Street Soccer USA.
Homeless World Cup matches are open to the public and free to attend. They will be played on three fields set up in Sac State’s Hornet Stadium (6000 J St.). The playing areas are smaller than traditional soccer fields and enclosed, leading to fast-paced, continuous action.
Three players and two coaches from Sacramento are participating in the tournament. For Team USA Men, Juan Lona will represent Sacramento with the assistance of Coach Reed Fox, also from Sacramento.
For Team USA Women, Yuli Pineda and Sienna Jackson will represent Sacramento as well as Coach Lisa Wrightsman, who is an alumna of Sac State and a leader of Street Soccer USA, Sacramento.
For more information about the Homeless World Cup, including game times and ways to reserve seats, please visit www.2023homelessworldcup.org.