Homeless World Cup Foundation

The Homeless World Cup uses football to help improve the lives of homeless people around the world. We stimulate the creation of international football programmes in every continent. We organise an annual world class football tournament Homeless World Cup in a major global city to promote and celebrate the work of our International Partners.
Jun 23, 2014

Developing Homeless World Cup in Eastern Europe

Kristyan and Laurentiu
Kristyan and Laurentiu

In April 2014 we visited 5 of our International Partner Organisations in Eastern Europe. These were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and Serbia.

During the visit we were able to see the conditions that homeless people endured and the motivation they took from being part of the regular football sessions. Often these programmes are led by one or two truly inspirational people who do all that they can to help people improve their lives.

Our partner in Romania, FOTBAL DESTRADA METANOIA, is run by a single person, Mihai. And he does run everything himself: maintenance of the street soccer pitch, outreach to homeless people on the streets, delivering football training in prisons, looking for sponsors and much more.

Kristyan and Laurentiu are two brothers who took part in the Mexico 2012 Homeless World Cup, special year for Romania as they won the Mexico City Cup. They grew up together in one of Timisoara’s private orphanages. Their mother, no longer able to provide for them alone, left them there when they were very young. When children turn 18, they are asked to leave the orphanage or they can choose to stay in supported accommodation for up to 4 years (where they have to pay small rents). This is to enable them to find a stable job and live in their own homes later on.

Kristyan and Laurentiu only stayed in supported accommodation for one year. They started taking part in FOTBAL DESTRADA METANOIA’s football programme and showed great leadership skills. They were both selected to take part in the Mexico 2012 Homeless World Cup.

When they take part in the football sessions, these kids get to leave the orphanage, travel to the pitch and be full members of the “outside world”. They get to entertain with people they would have never met otherwise and for one afternoon, they are not orphans, they are football players. That’s what matters to them.

Today, the two brothers live together, in their own flat. They both have jobs and Kristyan is engaged. They have always stuck together and have demonstrated that they are two strong young men, determined to live their lives free. They are still involved in the football programme and during my visit to Romania, Laurentiu explained how he shares his experience from Mexico with others. He helps prepare the new national Romanian team every year.

Playing for Romania at Homeless World Cup
Playing for Romania at Homeless World Cup
Weekly Football Sessions in Romania
Weekly Football Sessions in Romania
Homelessness in Romania
Homelessness in Romania

Links:

Mar 26, 2014

European Commission supports Homeless World Cup

Demonstration games in front of Edinburgh castle
Demonstration games in front of Edinburgh castle

In February 2014, 6 Homeless World Cup European partners met in Edinburgh for three days of learning, sharing, training and playing! Staff members from the Netherlands, Italy, the Czech Republic, Norway and Northern Ireland came to elarn about each other and witness the work of Street Soccer Scotland, our partner in the country. They took part in workshops and presentations to learn more about the power of football!

Teams from Scotland, the Netherlands and the Scottish Parliament played demonstration games in Princes Street Gardens. All participants were invited to the Scottish Parliament for an evening reception, sponsored by Christina McKelvie, MSP.

This event was sponsored by the European Commission Office in Scotland and supported by the European Parliament.

Players who took part in the demonstration games in Princes Street Gardens were selected through the Homeless World Cup partners in Scotland and the Netherlands. The Dutch players came from Assen in the Netherlands where they regularly train and take part in tournaments together. During the Dutch national street soccer tournament (Dutch Street Cup) the Assen team had won the Fair Play Award. The reward for such good behaviour on and off the pitch was traveling to Edinburgh to represent their country in the Scottish capital.
The Scottish players take part in Street Soccer Scotland drop-in sessions in Glasgow on a regular basis. They were glad to represent their country and welcome European guests as well.

Player’s story:  Rik, Netherlands

Rik attended the tournament in Edinburgh and represented the Netherlands with his team, Assen.
He has been working with Life Goals and taken part in the Dutch Street Cup for a couple of years now.
He has two children and used to live in a house with his wife. Unfortunately, the two of them started using drugs and soon became addicts.This led to social services taking their children away. Rik also got into debt and was unable to keep his house any longer. He started playing football and getting involved with the Life Goals project. When someone asked him what his goals for the future were, he answered: getting his children back, getting clean and sober and having a house where they could all live together. These were ambitious goals but he was very determined.

Through regular training sessions and support from his coach and team mates, Rik is now completely clean and now lives in supported accommodation. He has found a new girlfriend and even got full custody of his two children. They all live together now. His younger son was so proud of his dad, for travelling to Edinburgh and representing the Netherlands that he asked him to go and speak at his school; about his life and his achievements.

Rik is at the end of his journey with Life Goals: he has managed to change his life around through football. However, he really wants to stay involved with the project and will probably soon become an assistant coach for the Assen team.

For more photos of the event, visit our Facebook album here.

Rik, representing the Netherlands in Edinburgh
Rik, representing the Netherlands in Edinburgh
Feb 10, 2014

Player's Profile: Dragan, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dragan, at the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup
Dragan, at the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup

Dragan played for his country: Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup.

He tells his story here:

"I was born and raised in Banjaluka, Bosnia & Herzegovina. I was an addict for several years but thanks to my community, I managed to leave that world of evil and successfully resocialize in society. I managed to enter into BH homeless football team which is organised by International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS (IFS)

I, as well as other guys from all around Bosnia and Herzegovina, formed this new homeless football team. It was the second time Bosnia & Herzegovina took part in the Homeless World Cup. Just like me, all the other guys were affected by difficulties and troubles in their lives. We started to train and got to know each other from month to month and new friendships emerged. We travelled from one tournament to the other and played football, bringing excellent results: 2nd place at the European Homeless Cup in Munich, last June, and 6th place at the Homeless world cup in Poznan also accomplishing an individual award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament in Poland. 

However, the sports results are not what matters because the social aspect of the project is far more important.  Me, as a player, and I am deeply convinced that my colleagues share the same opinion, felt human again through football. I was no longer enslaved by my addiction and past life but I truly felt like a person again, part of something bigger. When you say you’re a former addict, people don’t trust you and you can’t find work, because people don’t believe you’re clean. Recovering from addiction was hard enough but fighting prejudice was much more difficult. Football has helped me doing that.

By choosing football, I hope I’m sending a clear message to society about the kind of person I am now and what my priorities are.

I can only recommend to all people who have any kind of social, material, existential or health issues not to despair and not to give up. Each battle has its end. Ultimately, the darkness exists only to bring light again. 

Team Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2013
Team Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2013
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