2014 Homeless World Cup kicks off in Chile

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Santiago, Chile is the host city for one of the feel-good events of the year, the Homeless World Cup.

Run by the Homeless World Cup organization, this year’s tournament features 54 teams from around the world, facing off in five-a-side matches in the city center.

With over 350 matches taking place, the event allows people that are homeless or live in extreme poverty to travel across the world to play football.

From HomelessWorldCup.org:

The vision of the Homeless World Cup is to transform lives of homeless people through football. It has impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of homeless people since it began.

Santiago is the highlight of 12 months’ work. Over the coming days, 54 teams from around the world will play 350 fast-paced games for 7 trophies, supported by millions of fans.

The United States team has been placed in a group with the Netherlands, Russia, Bulgaria and England. The U.S. also has fielded a women’s team, organized by Street Soccer USA.

Reigning champions Brazil will look to win their third title, while Mexico will try and avenge three straight losses in the finals. Host nation Chile were crowned champions in 2012, and would love to claim another trophy in front of their home fans.