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The Street Soccer USA Cup is back in town. The annual homeless soccer tournament features 18 teams of homeless players from across the country, competing for the national championship. The tournament is run by Street Soccer USA, a non-profit that provides job and educational opportunities to homeless people, as well as a sports program that serves as a platform for awareness. The organization provides room and board for players through donations and sponsors while they are participating in the soccer tournament.

Local branches of the group pick the players from each city. Players will also compete for a chance to represent the United States at the Homeless World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Homeless World Cup aims to raise awareness of global homelessness; it was the focus of the documentary film Kicking It.

The tournament begins today with a “parade of states” and celebrity kickoff, and concludes Sunday when the championship game will be held and the national roster will be announced. The event is at the Washington Kastles Stadium at the site of the old convention center on 11th and H Streets NW. Tickets are free. (If you go, don’t be surprised if the atmosphere reminds you of RFK—a contingent from D.C. United fan club the Barra Brava will be there tonight, supporting the D.C. team against New York.)

Photo by Joel Mason-Gaines