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National partner profile: Mexico

Street Soccer Mexico A.C.

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Street Soccer Mexico A.C. is a private, non-profit organisation that uses sports as a social tool. They run the Mexico Homeless World Cup Teams in collaboration with Fundación Telmex.

The organisation is aided by national and civic institutions to organise tournaments and training sessions for the children and youth living in shelters, recovery homes, or marginalised communities.

Their ambassador is Mr. Arturo Elías Ayub, CEO of Fundación Telmex, which was one of the main partners of the 2012 Homeless World Cup in Mexico City and continues to support Street Soccer Mexico A.C. and Team Mexico.

Street Soccer Mexico was established in 2005 and became a non-profit organisation in 2008. Back then, their limited budget only allowed the organisation to coordinate tournaments in four states. Despite the low number of tournaments, there was a high level of interested participants and members the general public.

It was this high level of interest among participants and the general public what led to the partnership with Fundación Telmex in 2009. This new partnership allowed the organisation of street soccer tournaments in eight separate states across the country. One of the goals of these tournaments was to select a national team to represent Mexico at the 2009 Homeless World Cup in Milan, Italy.

After observing the social impact that Street Soccer Mexico had after the 2009 Homeless World Cup tournament, the decision was made to organise local tournaments in every state of the country. By 2010, more than 6,500 participants were taking part throughout Mexico’s 32 states.

To date, Street Soccer Mexico continues to reach out to people across the country through football and the good will of everyone involved. Recent participant numbers are as high as 26,000 annually.

Street Soccer Mexico welcomed the Homeless World Cup to Mexico City in 2012. A spectacular 168,000 fans turned out to watch homeless players from 56 countries compete in the Zócalo Square in Mexico City.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Street Soccer Mexico A.C. helps its participants to construct their own identity instead of the one imposed on them by their social conditions. The trainings, meetings, and tournaments become spaces of transformation, where the participants go from being socially excluded into active citizens.

They organise sporting events so that the participants can overcome substance abuse and rebuild a positive self-image and self-confidence after living on the streets.

They aim to empower marginalised people to learn the values of teamwork and leadership, so that they can become representatives for change in their communities.

Goals for the future

Partnerships

To develop partnerships with other international foundations and football programmes

Additional information

Partner since

2006

Football Activities

They run more than 300 weekly football training sessions nationwide, and participate in international tournaments such as Copa America.

Team selection

The Mexico teams for the Homeless World Cup are selected from a number of regional tournaments, with a final national event to select the squad members.

Non-football services

Contacts with different services and institutions that offer access employment, scholarships, health services, and education.

Participants challenges

Many players are involved in and affected by gang violence and poverty. Women and girls are often affected by domestic violence.

Country challenges

More than 50% of the population of Mexico live below the poverty line (World Bank, 2014). Homelessness is strongly tied to high rates of domestic violence in Mexico, which is not properly dealt with by the legal authorities. Furthermore, many criminal gangs and drug cartels exploit women for prostitution and human trafficking, making homeless women particularly vulnerable (Women Under Siege, 2012).

Homlessness definition

While there is no official definition of homelessness, Mexico Child Link project uses the following definition of “street children”: a term often used to describe both market children (who work in the streets and markets of cities selling or begging, and live with their families) and homeless street children (who work, live and sleep in the streets, often lacking any contact with their families).

Homelessness Statistics

In Mexico City, an estimated 50% of people live in informal, low-income settlements. NGOs in 2012 estimated that between 15,000 and 30,000 people in Mexico City were living on the streets. (Housing Conference, University of Glasgow, 2009; Inter Press Service, 2012)

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