The next Homeless World Cup takes place in Melbourne in December, but tryouts for the U.S. team take place in Washington, D.C., this weekend, reports Mike Wise. He caught up with some of the 100 hopefuls vying for a spot on the eight-man roster that will travel to Australia later this year.
That includes players such as Dwayne Gourzong, 32, who tells Wise: "It's weird telling you I sleep under a bridge, but I'm not ashamed of it. That's where I have to be right now to get where I want to go. It's not who I am. It's just where I sleep." Gourzong's life turned from having a pregnant girlfriend, a steady job and a two-roomed apartment in Charlotte, to being homeless after serving three months in jail for a felony he committed while feeding a rock cocaine habit. His family returned home to Florida.
Playing soccer is helping Gourzong and his friend Tim Cummins (sober two years this October) to get their lives back on track. "The goal for almost everyone is to get a job or into housing," said the team's coach, Lawrence Cann. "In some cases it's addressing a drug addiction or a mental-health issue or reconnecting with family." His biggest task, he adds, "is trusting them to take care of themselves."