By Jane Sloan
The fireworks are over. Your ardor for World Cup soccer has dwindled since the U.S. lost to Belgium, and you’ve exhausted the plethora of “Things Tim Howard Could Save” memes. How to go on?
Consider rekindling your football fandom by watching Kicking It, a 2006 documentary about the Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa. The film follows six players– from Ireland, Afghanistan, Kenya, Spain, Russia, and the United States – as they compete on national teams in an annual soccer tournament with some seventy other countries.
Dedicated players develop athletic discipline and teamwork under the guidance of volunteer coaches. Yet they also grapple with factors that contribute to their homelessness. Damien Hill, a talented goalie from Ireland and a former heroin addict, hopes to wean himself from methadone. The Russian team wants to combat the national stigma against the homeless. American player Craig struggles to control his anger on the football field, something he has not been able to do off the field.
Kickin’ It demonstrates the therapeutic quality of sport. The film illustrates the profound sense of self-worth that can develop when someone is valued as a contributing member of a community. The film is uplifting, sometimes devastating, and powerfully validating of the dignity of every human being.
Watch Kicking It on Netflix: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70084231?sod=search-autocomplete
Visit the Homeless World Cup Website: https://www.homelessworldcup.org/