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In Honduras, A Soccer Program Points Kids To Better, Safer Life

In a Tegucigalpa, Honduras neighborhood called Progreso, a program has made real progress in keeping children healthy, safe and less willing to make the dangerous migration to the U.S.

Luis Lopez started a soccer training program in the rough neighborhood a year ago to keep young children from joining older ones who were already working with gangs, sniffing glue or doing other drugs. In the last 6 months of the program, none of the fifty children who train with Lopez two hours a day, 5 days a week have been murdered, and none have left to to go the U.S. Nearly 1,000 children were murdered in Honduras in 2014 and over 8,000 Honduran children were arrested by U.S. authorities last year for entering the U.S. illegally to reunite with family.

Desperate Journey: Children at America’s Border 2:33

More importantly, none of the kids have joined the gangs that control neighborhoods and use children to store and sell drugs, collect extortions and even murder.

The Kahl foundation, a small California-based organization, found out about Lopez's program and sent money to buy equipment, upgrade the field and rent buses so the children could travel around Tegucigalpa to play other teams.

"The field has created a group, comfort, friendship. It gives them a place to belong, something to care about, something they don't want to lose," said Lopez, known affectionately as "Luisito."

IN-DEPTH:

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In Honduras, Life Amid Violence and Strife

Desperate Journey: Crime and Poverty Drive Honduran Kids To U.S.

--The Associated Press