Kicking It (2008) - Synopsis
In the summer of 2006, while the football world's attention was focused on Germany, thousands of players around the globe were training hard and competing to be part of the World Cup...The Homeless World Cup. It began in 2001 as a wild idea by a Scot and an Austrian—to give homeless people a chance to change their lives through an international street soccer competition. Five years later, the annual Homeless World Cup had become an internationally recognized sports competition. 500 homeless players from 48 nations would ultimately be selected to represent their country in Cape Town, South Africa—coming from such disparate parts of the world as war torn Afghanistan, the slums of Kenya, the drug rehab clinics of Dublin, Ireland, the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, the overflowing public shelters of Madrid, Spain, and the unforgiving city of St. Petersburg, Russia, where the homeless have no rights or identity.
Win or lose, for these players it would be the journey of a lifetime. The film follows seven players in their own tough worlds as they confront the daily challenges of life on the streets, battle drug and alcohol addiction, and fight for the right to be recognized as human beings. We witness their struggles, hopes, and determination. The teams are greeted by the South African President, as they make their spirited entrance in to two newly built street soccer "pitches", located at the precise spot where Nelson Mandela was released from prison—with the glorious Table Mountain as the backdrop. Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu joins the players, declaring homelessness the new "apartheid." For 7 days of fiercely competitive matches, the teams vie for the championship cups. Despite the fact that they may not have a home, the players wear the colors of their country with pride. From shattering misconceptions about the homeless to seeing people living at the edge of society discover that they also can be winners, the film shows in a real and powerful way that sports can and does change lives. As the Russian coach observes, "To me, football is the best model for real life. There is no last game in football and there is no last game in real life. You always have another chance to win."