This September the world will gather in Amsterdam for the kick-off of the annual Homeless World Cup 2015.
The homeless world cup has become a massive deal, with the number of participating countries and spectators increasing by the year. But what is the homeless world cup? It’s an international football tournament, which gives people that have been or continually suffer from social exclusion the chance to be involved in a national tournament. This gives them the chance to take their passion worldwide to compete for their country and unite as one!
The ‘Welsh Warriors’ are an all Women’s team selected to represent Wales on the world stage. The women have been committed members of the Street Football Wales’ league, a league set up to improve the lives and opportunities for homeless and socially excluded people in Wales. Training and preparation in recent months has been phenomenal and all Team Wales representatives have displayed great effort and determination in preparation for the homeless word cup, with the help of Welsh International, and street football Wales Ambassador Loren Dykes, as coach and mentor. Behind the scenes, Street Football Wales’ staff and supporters have been working tirelessly to fundraise, and make this dream possible for the 10 young women travelling to Amsterdam, led by founder, Keri Harris.
Vi-Ability’s Natasha Marke-Jones planned an ‘Athlete Preparation Day’ prior to the ‘Welsh Warriors’ trip to Amsterdam. Vi-Ability are long standing youth partners of o2’s ‘Think Big’ programme, aimed at young people, aged 13-25, taking social action to make positive changes in their community. Natasha took the opportunity to apply for the ‘Think Big’ funding so she could run her own project. She really wanted to share with the young women her experiences and passion of playing elite level sport and what it’s like to compete on the world stage.
The day involved the girls taking part in a team workshop, where many discussions were around mental skills on overcoming barriers, goal setting and team building. Welsh international footballer and Street Football Wales Ambassador, Loren Dykes, also played a large part in the workshop, the afternoon comprised of team building skills and drills to really bring the girls together.
Whilst the homeless world cup is based around football, there is a lot to be said for the experience that the team will undertake. The confidence and social experience these women take from their trip will significantly help their future, and the confidence brought about by the support of teammates turned friends is a massive factor in the growth of the individual. Experiences like this really are once in a lifetime and will provide the building blocks to fulfil their potential in Sport and life.
It is clear that the benefits of the tournament are endless. “The Homeless World Cup was conceived in 2001 in a bar in Cape Town, South Africa.” From there on it took the belief in an idea and the drive to change the world to create such an event. Could you be the creator of a new worldwide event?
The o2 ‘Think BIG’ scheme gives young people the opportunity to turn a vision into a reality by providing help and initial funding to kick start a small idea to make it BIG! If you have an idea that will help others and the drive to make it happen then contact Natasha Marke-Jones on Natasha@vi-ability.org for more information – Get involved and #ThinkBig
We wish the “Welsh Warriors” every success in their Homeless world cup campaign!
Please follow @streetfootballwales to show your support. It’s not too late to donate; https://localgiving.com/charity/sfw
The Welsh Women's Football squad have shown their support too, click here to see their message, from one Welsh team to another! https://vimeo.com/138962424