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

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Posts Tagged ‘Football’

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 spent many hours this weeks around Mel Young, photographing him, running erands for his team, but not any time to do more than say “hello”. This has scuppered my chances of talking to him in depth about him and The Homeless World Cup, so I’ve compiled a little bit of information from around the internet to give you an insight.

Mel, founder of The Big Issue in Scotland, set up The Homeless World Cup Foundation in 2001 with Harald Schmied, editor of a Austrian street paper. His vision was to unite homeless people through a simple, common language. 18 months after first talking about the issue, Mel and Harald held the first Homeless World Cup in Graz, Austria, with just 18 teams, but outstanding results and lasting impact on the participants’ lives. Based on that success, they rolled out the project in successive years across the world with more than 64 nations taking.

So, Mel’s vision is to start to make a dent in the one billion homeless people in the world, through football. This can only be done in small steps, but through The Homeless World Cup Foundation, their football programmes around the world and the annual competition, the participants can start to take responsibility for their futures and changing the face of homelessness. This has already proven to be working, as more than 70% of participants come move on from The Homeless World Cup into new lives and 94% say the event has had a positive impact on their lives.

All quite simple and effective and, as this years’ t-shirts say, a ball can change the world!

Info taken from Wikipedia and The Homeless World Cup website.

Photo courtesy of www.theskinny.co.uk

Mel Young


Changing lives

27 September; Author: World Cup Willy

There’s lots of fun being had out in Rio, by staff, volunteers and players, but behind all that is a much more important issue – homelessness. It’s difficult to see that it exists here at the Copacabana Stadium, as everyone is on the same level together, living together, playing together, experiencing together, but there are a wide range of stories that the players have to tell. I wanted to find out a bit more about it … read on …

Paraguay: The Paraguayan girls’ team is made up of girls from five different cultures and two of the team had no recognised identities 2 weeks before the tournament. It seems extraordinary that something we take for granted at birth back home is not available to people, even through their teens and into their early twenties. Julia Corvala, from Fundacion Paraguay and travelling with the Paraguayan team, was also able to tell The Homeless World Cup a little more about the girls´ backgrounds. ‘Forty percent of people in Paraguay live under the poverty line, 20% are in extreme poverty. The girls who come to us all live below the poverty line, with families living on only $2 per day’ she said. Fundacion Paraguay work with the Nike Foundation, who awarded them a $1.6 million grant to run the Mbaracayu Educational Centre. The school, based in the forests of a UNESCO natural forest reserve is completely financially self-sufficient and environmentally conscious. They provide the opportunity for young women, some of whom represent the Paraguay team, to finish high school and even to continue to University level. (Quote and information from Julia Corvala is from The Homeless World Cup website)

India: The 2 Indian teams are largely made up of orphans aged 18-20. They’ve been living in accommodation provided by a local charity in central India for as long as they can remember. Just 2 years ago, a Football Box (a bundle of equipment and coaching programme) was given to them so they could implement a youth training programme in their home town and initially 20 coaches successfully went through the programme. Now there are 123 coaches trained locally through this initiative and their first 2 teams have entered The Homeless World Cup, one of them winning the award for fair play. The organiser of the Indian teams is expecting the programme to continue, as it offers their participants the chance for personal development and to learn how to engage with society and other people – something that has been experienced fully at The Homeless World Cup (and something I have seen in them – a largely shy and retiring team now chats, laughs and jokes openly with players from other nations, even with a language barrier).

Palestine: Team Palestine are made up of homeless refugees, now living in camps in Lebanon to escape the conflict at home. Their families are poor and many people in these camps will have experienced hunger, murder and aggression. In the summer, their tents are hot, like ovens, and in the winter, temperatures drop to freezing. They have lives that no one would want to live and their only outlet is sport, hence the opportunity offered by The Homeless World Cup. The Rio 2010 Organising Committee have worked hard to ensure that Team Palestine can take part in this years’ competition, overcoming a wide range of hurdles, and the hard work is paying off, as the players make the most of their time here and integrate with other nations well, often being the centre of attention in groups, as they chat, eat and kick a ball around.

Croatia: Since we first met last weekend, following a cheeky exchange of facial expressions and (innocent) hand gestures, Ivan (38 from Croatia), and I have built a relationship of respect and trust. Despite his limited English and my non-existent Croatian we managed to get a few minutes to talk about his life and what it means to be at The Homeless World Cup. Ivan was involved in the Yugoslavia war in the early 1990s. His participation was reluctant and his experiences drove him to drink and drugs for many years. Through the church in his home town, near Split, Ivan has received support and worked hard to improve his life and be clean of drink and drugs. He sees his time in Rio as a great opportunity to step forward in his life and to take the inspiration he has found from meeting others and playing football with them. He returns this week to his home town, with fresh hope for a positive future.

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 www.homelessworldcup.org.

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!

Done! Complete! Finished! And £650 raised!

Really pleased … and relieved to have got the event out of the way. In the days leading up to it, I got anxious and was really concerned that I’d forgotten something. And at 5pm, just an hour before the start, the heavens opened and cats, dogs, zebras and giraffes fell from the sky … but it cleared up by 6pm. The money raised on the night puts me much closer to my fundraising target and frees up a bit of brain space, too. Phew!

I’ve written a full report on the event, with pics too, (click here to view it), but, in short, we had 8 teams battle it out through group matches, semi-final and final to win the trophy. 40 goals later, plus a sudden death penalty shoot out, De Lage Lads, from De Lage Landen Leasing Ltd, walked away with the trophy, and their goalkeeper, held high.

Hundreds of raffle tickets were sold too, contributing towards the total raised, and a sincere thanks must go to all the companies who donated items to the raffle. There were some fab ones!

Quick bit of news for you from The Homeless World Cup …

One of the former participants at The Homeless World Cup, a young lad living in a hostel in Lisbon, Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, has just signed for Manchester United for £7m. This season you’ll probably get to know him better as Bebe.

Full article here on the FSF website: http://www.fsf.org.uk/news/homeless-world-cup-star-joins-premier-league.php?id=

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.