Players,Parade and Pride

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. 

http://homelessfa.org

Going Dutch

It’s that time again when I head off to the Homeless World Cup, this year in Amsterdam. 
This will be the 7th year attending each one has its own unique flavour and atmosphere. The one consistent is the overwhelming feeling of joy, inspiration and camaraderie. 

If you weren’t aware it was where the long journey of Streets Revolution began back in 2009. 

Since then I have been fortunate enough to not only attend every year, but meet some wonderful human beings that have inspired me and made me aware of the HOPE that the simple act of kicking a ball together can bring. 

My perceptions have been changed, my education although not complete has been thorough. I’ve been challenged about how I think about homelessness and what that means in different parts of the world.  

The Netherlands has in Amsterdam approached the issue of homelessness in a way tackling the problem at the root cause.  

Here is a link and a more in depth look it makes for interesting reading;

Homeless in Amsterdam

I never really know what to expect the people I meet and the conversations I will have.  I can guarantee a few things, great football, awesome people, inspirational stories and reassurance that despite the societal problems, economic difficulties and rising pressure across the globe as homelessness is on the increase, that there are people working hard to end this situation, that sport has a part to make a difference.  That there is light at the end of that tunnel. There is HOPE. 

Please follow some of these stories here and visit the Homeless World Cup website to get live action and be part of it wherever you are. 

https://www.homelessworldcup.org/tournament/