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Homeless World Cup

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5 a side Competition

Fundraising 5 a side competition was held on 12 August and raised over £650. A full report on the evening's activities is online now. Click here to read it. Photos are also available to view - Click here to see them.

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Quick Note

Just a quick note to prevent any confusion: I'm not associated with, nor am I trying to pass myself off as, World Cup Willie, the 1966 World Cup Mascot. He's much more popular and handsome than I could ever be. If you want to find out more about him click here

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

So, finally, I made it. After delays at work this week, and with my wedding just a week away (yes, I was allowed out!), I got to Paris on Friday, just for the day, to drop in on old friends from Rio and see what new developments there were this year. Unfortunately after just a few photos my camera gave up (shutter seems to be jammed), so I’ve had to borrow pictures from elsewhere on the net (I’d like to credit the photographers, but I haven’t a clue who actually took them!).

This year’s event was at a fantastic venue in the gardens around the Eiffel Tower – take a look at the pics below to see how close the pitches were to the tower. The tournament has expanded again this year so they’ve had to build an extra pitch – that’s 3 in total, so 392 games can be played in just 1 week.

Every game has been online this year too, so you can even watch it from the comfort of your desk/office/armchair* (*delete as appropriate).

The odd character from Rio turned up too, most notably Arezki, from France. He was a player last year having recently been homeless, but he now finds himself running the French team from its inception this year, through training and tournament preparation, to the real event … in his home country. Great story from a top guy!

Global ambassadors continue to grow too, this year with Emmanuel Petit taking up the position of chief ambassador for this year’s event. Although such a star (World Cup winner!) he was happy to pose for as many photos and sign as many autographs as people wanted – a true gentleman – and even I was lucky enough to get to meet him momentarily. And … Arsene Wenger is the President of the organising committee!

Closer to home, the England team set up will develop a new future soon under the guidance of Gareth Parker, who is heading up the England Homeless FA. The aim is to build a stronger network around England with the foundations already put in place by various organisations running street soccer projects and ultimately give greater opportunity for people to change their lives through football. He’s even whispered to me that next year they’re hoping to enter the first England women’s team!

Not quite as close to home, but just over the border … I ought to mention that the Scottish men won the big trophy and Kenya won the women’s trophy. Well done to them and well done all.

I must say there were great scenes around the park too, as players from all around the world embraced, physically and emotionally. I know I do bang on about it, but football really does have a great strength to bring people together and build them up. I saw lots of it last year in Rio (it was quite brilliant!) and this year there seems to be a whole lot more.

Long live The Homeless World Cup.

The Homeless World Cup Paris 2011 kicks off tomorrow! This year there will be 64 teams from all over the world, including more than ever in the women’s tournament. The venue is Champs de Mars – the garden right next to the Eiffel Tower!

I’m hoping to pop along later in the week to see the action and will bring back some news and pics.

I’ve been a busy boy today, running around outside Wembley Stadium taking snaps of the Kinetic 5s fundraising event. Funds generated from this event go into the bursary fund to assist some nations in getting their team to the 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris. It’s not often I get to spend a whole day with my camera, so I really enjoyed my time behind the lens. I’m still very much an amateur, but here’s a little selection for you to view.

By the way, today’s event will have raised a few thousand pounds!


30 April; Author: World Cup Willy

Finally … after many months … I have uploaded the best 100 photos from the 2010 Homeless World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Click here to see them.

The Homeless World Cup Foundation is running a corporate 5 a side football competition this summer and you are welcome to enter a team. If you can’t make it, may be you know someone who can.

The event is being run at Soccerdome (formerly the David Beckham Academy) on 25th June and all money raised from this event will go to the Homeless World Cup bursary fund. Each team entered will represent one of the participating nations and the day will include food, drink, medals/trophies and entry into random lucky prize draws. Remember that over 70% of those who take part in The Homeless World Cup go on to develop positive futures for themselves – that’s 500 players from the flagship event and over 30,000 at grassroots level, so the charity’s work really does make a difference to so many people around the world.

Official info can be found by clicking this link.

They think it’s all over … it is now! There’s no people on the pitch, there’s no Geoff Hurst hattrick and Kenneth Wolstenholme isn’t commentating. But The Homeless World Cup 2010 is now finished.

Brazil ran out winners of the men’s and women’s tournaments with wins over Chile and Mexico, respectively, in front of a stadium packed with players, spectators and media. And earlier in the day Slovenia, Philippenes, Ukraine, Argentina and Austria all won their own competitions … celebrations all round!

The day finished wet, so the trophies were presented in a local school gym – a bit of a dampener at the end of the week, but football and the promise of bright futures for the players was the biggest winner. The prize giving ceremony finished with a party for the players, officials and organisers – hundreds of people mingling, taking photographs, exchanging email addresses and swapping shirts – hundreds of people together because of homelessness and football.

I don’t know exactly what is going to happen from here on, but watching the guys and girls over the last week, I think it’s going to be something good. The plan from The Homeless World Cup is just that … and it seems like there’s every opportunity it could happen. I’m hoping to be able to keep in touch with some of the guys here in Rio, so I’ll be able to see exactly what happens over the coming months and years.

Well done, everyone! Fantastic efforts this week!

Photos courtesy of The Homeless World Cup and Nicolae Stoian/Photographers for Hope

Brazil Men CelebrateBrazil Women CelebratePacked Stadium on Finals Day

Scorchio! Not a cloud in the sky and not ideal weather of the Germans and Kiwis who both wear black. Temperatures went into the 30s and sun tan lotion was applied liberally to keep the burn away.

Today was another full day of football, finishing after 5pm as the sun set. The first group matches are now complete and the next stage will kick off tomorrow. No one is eliminated from the tournament at this point, as the teams are filtered into groups reflecting their own ability. That means more football for everyone and more opportunities for the teams to experience something special.

Hopefully more photos will follow shortly, as soon as I can tie up USB sticks with internet availability.

Highlight of the day? The bond between the Mexican guys´ and girls´ teams and the support shown for all nations by others.

It has begun … the flagship event for The Homeless World Cup Foundsation is now underway, having started on Sunday with a thrilling 7-6 win by Brazil over fellow South Americans, Chile.

On Copacabana Beach is a stadium with two street soccer pitches built on top of the sand. Inside the stadium are hundreds of players, all full of nerves and excitement, wanting to change their lives through and wanting to do so through football. I´ve spoken to many people here, coaches, players, charity workers, all thrilled by the opportunity to be here and grateful to their sponsors for supporting them on their journey here.

My job since the start of this fabulous event has been to work in the Media & Communications team, getting the tournament news out to the world through the website. I´ve fallen on my feet a bit, as the team needed someone to take photos for the news and match reports and I had brought my DSLR camera with me. I´ve never taken so many photos in such a short space of time … and the subject is one of my favourites, too!

Walking round with my camera, I´ve caught people´s attention and been able to talk to them. It seems the combination of football and a camera will bridge any language issues. Genuinely, there is so much excitement among the players, even if they´ve suffered a 15-0 loss (and there have been a couple of those!) and it´s great to be a part of that. Teams have travelled here from the opposite side of the world, they´ve left war-torn countries, they´ve escaped tragedy hit countries and communities and now have the chance to take their lives forward through their passion for football. I really am pleased to be part of this event.

I´m probably waffling a bit, but my mind has jumped back to yesterday when South Korea took a 9-2 battering by the inform Costa Rica. The Koreans are short on players and their goalkeeper is a guy recovering from alcoholism, who is old enough to be my dad. He stands in his goal, thick-framed glasses on, gloves and shirt a bit too big for him, but full of enthusiasm for the next 14 minutes of this adventure in Brazil. The goals fly past him, as his does his best to parry the ball to safety and he just keeps getting up for more. From the stands, the crowd are chanting “KO-RE-AH, KO-RE-AH”, givig everything they can to encourage the underdogs and this continues to the end of the match when the Koreans leave the pitch. At this point, Hary, a ref from Australia (he is such a top guy – love him to bits already, after meeting him just 3 days ago) beckons the Koreans back to the pitch to face the crowd … who are still chanting KO-RE-AH. Any sign of disappointment in the Koreans´faces simply disappears as they watch, listen and bow to the cheering masses. The guys are thrilled, elated by this experience, really feeling something so special from it. This is what it´s all about – football breaking down barriers and creating passion and excitement among the players, regardless of who they are.

For those back home who are interested, the England team are doing fine. They have won two matches and lost one, scoring 20 goals in the process.

T minus 1

19 September; Author: World Cup Willy

T minus 1 – official event starts tomorrow (Sunday) but today there has been fun and games, as the teams gathered for registration, collection of kit donated by Nike and the group match draw.

It rained! And it rained! And it rained! It could have been Slough or Manchester or Wolverhampton, but this was Copacabana Beach … and it rained all day long! Forecast is not good for tomorrow, and it does dampen things a bit, but so many players made the very best of it – singing, dancing, chanting, embracing each other – all in the name of football. The very best of the high spirits came from the Mexican women, who did all the above, and did it very, very well! They sung, others sung; they danced, others danced; and so began the pattern of them being the centre of attention throughout the day. Wonderful energy from them, to maintain it all day long and what a wonderful sight too.

My job for the week has now been confirmed – I will be working in Media & Communications, photographing the event and writing match reports, player profiles, updating the website and more. Photographing the action today has put me right in the thick of it, meeting lots of people already, talking, laughing, gesturing with hands (when a language barrier is too great to overcome) and, ultimately, getting these guys ready for the experience of their lives. The buzz has already started to move through the event, and it is all generated by football.

The group match draw took place, throwing up some interesting fixtures tomorrow including Brazil v Chile (opening match) and England v Hong Kong. All fixtures, reports etc are online at

Highlights today? Mexican girls getting the action going and Palestine & Haiti teams arriving at the stadium, showing they can turn out for this regardless of anything that has happened recently. Just take a moment to think what their nations have experienced over the last few months and years. And they have still made it here!

What is this all about?

This is all about creating new futures for people ... through football. It's simple! And more than 500 people from across the world will have the opportunity by taking part in the 2010 Homeless World Cup. The event raises awareness of homelessness globally and drives people to change their lives with new health, jobs, homes, families and more. If you'd like to sponsor me, please click here.

Who am I?

I'm Wil, a football fan ... and now a volunteer at the 2010 Homeless World Cup. I've taken on the challenge of volunteering for the 2010 Homeless World Cup to combine my passion for football with a desire to help others. I'll be getting my hands dirty at the event, helping in a whole range of ways (lugging around equipment, directing teams, talking to the press, compiling results, writing blogs and more). It's a fantastic opportunity to get involved and to make a difference to so many other people's lives.