L.A.'s team of homeless soccer players
On this soccer team, all the players are immigrants whose lonely journeys took them from Central America or Mexico to the streets of Los Angeles.
They are strangers and, now, teammates. They've been chosen to represent Los Angeles in a national soccer league made up of players who are homeless.
Teamwork will be the key to their success, say their coaches, Johny Figueroa and Gerardo Gomez.
"We need to trust each other, and take care of each other," the coaches say in Spanish. "We need to grow together like a family."
For the players, these are unfamiliar concepts. But when the coaches ask, "Are you committed?" six heads nod.
-- Kate Linthicum
Photo: Marlon Alexander Lux Bal goes for the ball against an opponent during a practice soccer tournament in Long Beach. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times