Jun 27, 2008, 11:14AM

Florida Homeless Refuse To Take The Field

A student at the University of Florida has been trying with minimal success to create a functional soccer league for homeless people in the Gainseville area. However, apparently the homeless are more interested in surviving than playing games.

The soccer cleats are new, and the uniforms are clean.

But no homeless people have volunteered to wear them.

Anthony Lyons, manager of the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency, has been trying to start a local homeless soccer program since early fall 2007.

However, Lyons is facing a major problem: getting local homeless people to participate.

"I first wanted to take the approach that I needed uniforms, socks, shoes, a place to play and a soccer ball," Lyons said.

"Things of that sort were all things I was able to accomplish, and the last piece was getting the actual players. I actually thought that would be the easiest thing, and it's turned out to be the hardest thing."

Lyons has worked on this project in his spare time without any help from the city.

He said the soccer program is a nontraditional way to get the homeless feeling healthier and more confident.

"It brings people together," he said. "It has people working as a team. It gives them a place to go on a regular basis, and it will allow them to travel around the country or, frankly, around the world."



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