The opening day and the parade kicks off a week of street soccer.
Players come from all over the world in celebration of life and survival. Achievement surrounds them, before a ball has been kicked everyone is a winner.
I caught up with Hannah Voice a 20 year old goalkeeper from the HFA England’s Women Team.
She spoke of her pride and overwhelming joy at not only representing her country but being chosen to be captain and flag bearer.
“It’s beyond my wildest dreams, a totally life changing moment”.
Having become homeless a year ago, given a label of homeless. Today on the field of football she was given a new label ‘flag bearer’ one that she hopes is the catalyst.
“I hope to work for the HFA, it would be my dream to be in football again. ”
She was once as a 12 year old on the books of Chelsea, before an injury halted her career.
“Words can’t describe the emotion I felt. ”
A sense of pride on her face and a moment of reflection on how far she’s come in a year.
Symbolically waving the flag for many others back in England. Showing that redefining the labels is sometimes is all it takes.
I spoke to a guy in my hostel that like many others came to see a few matches today , he said he didn’t believe they were or had been homeless. After a long discussion, he understood a bit more about that label. Interesting to note that’s not what he saw though he saw players, with pride for their countries. I hope that’s what the world sees.
Follow the work of the Homeless Football association on the link below.