Canada’s Homeless World Cup team is in Rio de Janeiro for the Homeless Soccer World Cup, looking to change their lives through new friends and connections.
The event, which is in its sixth year, is aimed at ending homelessness by bettering the lives of participants.
And according to the event’s website, it’s working: More than 70 per cent of past players have significantly changed their lives.
“The most important thing about (the tournament) is it provides friendship, and a social community,” Alan Bates, Team Canada’s coach, said from Brazil.
It’s through the networks developed at these events that the players are able to find jobs, housing, and develop confidence about succeeding, he added.
In terms of their global counterparts, Bates said there are some differences.
“It might not be that they have addictions that resulted in homelessness, it’s more civil war and other conflicts.”
No matter the circumstances, Team Canada has made an impact, becoming a fan favourite and rallying point for many of the other teams.