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Homeless World Cup Inspires Thousands To Re-Enter Society Through Soccer (VIDEO)

First Posted: 06/30/10 09:05 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:55 PM ET

A growing trend is helping get homeless people off the streets and back into society -- like seemingly everything else in the last few weeks, it has to do with soccer.

The Detroit News reports on Project Outreach Team (PORT), an organization that provides services to the homeless, and created a soccer league in 2007. The sport has been surprisingly successful at reaching a population who previously turned social workers away.

Soccer gives the homeless a relaxing way to dip their toe into the mainstream after being away a long time, said Linda Bacigalupi, a PORT jail diversion specialist who is one of the team's coaches.

It also teaches confidence, discipline and other traits that could help one re-enter society, she said.

"They say they feel like this is their family," she said. "That makes it worth it 10 times over."

The trend is spreading and the Homeless World Cup is even planned for September in Rio de Janeiro.

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Filed by Jonathan Daniel Harris  |