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.
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.
The Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup took place from August 11th to 18th at Lake Malta, Poznan in Poland and it was a real success!
Teams from around the world represented their countries with pride - including Chile, the 2012 World Champions, Namibia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France or new comers Northern Ireland.
After a week of great football, Brazil for the men and Mexico for the women won.
You can get a feel of what the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup was like here.
Players are now back home, where they have shared their experience in Poland, with their communities, media, etc
So, what's next?...well, the football continues!
The season has started for most of the Homeless World Cup partners around the world.
The Belgian Homeless Cup, in Belgium, for instance has started with a "Crazy Tunnel Mayhem Football" event that took place in Brussels last month.
The Homeless FA, in England, organised a European get-together with teams from Portugal, the Netherlands, Hungary and many more taking part.
Chile, the future hosts of the Santiago 2014 Homeless World Cup are also organising an exciting competition, from November 8th to November 10th in Santiago. They have invited teams from Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica and the USA will travel to chile to compete in the Copa America!
All these football sessions, tournaments and events are a taste of what is coming next year, in Chile.
The 12th Homeless World Cup annual tournament will take place and it should be an exciting experience for both the players and the public.
Futbol Calle, the Homeless World Cup partner in Chile, wants it to be a real celebration of all the work, done around the world by these partners, who use football to fight homelessness. They also want to raise awereness and invite families to witness the power of the beautiful game!
With only 6 days to go before the official start of the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup we would like to look at the individual stories of the players taking part in the event!
Remember there will be hundreds more players and stories that we will share with you all during the competition.
Admir, Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Admir was born in 1992 when the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina just began. One year later, as a baby, he was left orphan due to an aggressor’s grenade killing his mother. Soon after, he was banished from his home town, Kamenica. He found shelter in a Refugee Centre in Mihatovici near Tuzla where he still currently lives. He survives by digging coal illegally and collecting secondary goods. He didn’t imagine not even in his wildest dreams that one day he would have the honour to defend his country at an international competition.
After spending some time in jail, he was finally freed last winter. However, short after his return, his wife left their home and moved abroad. He then lost their flat and ended up on the streets. He likes the football trainings at they give him something else to focus on.
Rok is a young refugee from Southern Sudan who hails from the Dandenong Community Street Soccer Program in Melbourne. The Dandenong program is popular among refugees and Rok is considered a leader at both the Community Street Soccer Program and within his community.
Glandell, South Africa:
At 43 years old, Glandell is the oldest player in the time and has lived on the streets for the last two months. He has now been clean from drugs for a month.
To follow the tournament online and to read more players' stories, visit our website www.homelessworldcup.org
or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
The Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup will take place in Poland from August 10th to August 18th but teams taking part are already getting ready. From all around the world, Homeless World Cup's partners are already selecting the players that will represent their countries and training hard. Here are a few examples of what they are doing:
League of Change in Indonesia
The League of Change is a National Street Football Tournament for disadvantaged communities in Indonesia. Each men’s team had to include four players with AIDS and four players from the urban poor, while each women’s team hadto include four players with AIDS or from the urban poor. The remaining players were members of the general public.This year's tournament involved women for the first time bringing all together 13 teams from 9 major provinces in Indonesia. It also served as a selection to pick Indonesian players to play at the 2013 Homeless World Cup in Poznan, Poland and took place between March 10th to 12th.
Team Croatia, already selected and getting ready!
The preparations for the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup have started for Croatia, in the small town of Novi Vinodolski near Rijeka. This year's team is made of players from Rijeka, Zadar, Zagreb and Split. In April, the team will also travel to Doboj, Bosnia & Herzegovina where they will be hosted by Homeless World Cup's partner Emmaus IFS to play in a tournament with the Bosnian, Austrian and Slovenian national teams.
Les Bleus getting ready in France
The Tournoi de la Solidarité (Solidarity Tournament) will be the opportunity to select the players that will take part in the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup. Many organisations from all corners of the country have been invited to send players, men or women, to take part in this one day event. Collectif La Boussole, the Homeless World Cup's official partner in France, is expecting around 300 players at the end of April.
For more information on how the other teams are getting ready, please visit www.homelessworldcup.org or follow us on Facebook here.
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