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#HWC One Year On!

6 July 2020 Street Soccer

#HWC One Year On!

The Homeless World Cup is an annual event that brings together people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage for a week-long street football tournament. More than 450 players from 40+ countries come together to connect and compete with each other.

Due to COVID-19 the tournament did not run this year, but instead was replaced with the Homeless World Cup Day 2020, an online event celebrating the power of sport and it’s lifechanging potential. One year on since Homeless World Cup 2019 take we look back at our own Street Socceroos and their achievements.

The Australian Street Socceroos are chosen from The Big Issue’s Community Street Soccer Program. Last year The Big Issue sent eight players to Cardiff, Wales to represent Australia at the tournament. Despite not taking out the top prize the team managed to walk away with some amazing memories, friendships and a special Fair Play award for their commitment to teamwork and sportsmanship.

The Street Socceroos collecting their FIFPRO Fair Play Award. Pictured L-R: Sayed, Joel, Stevie, Peter, Ferass, Nik, Corey, Tina.    

“It was a wonderful experience,” says Canberra-born, Chilean-raised Nik, who joined ACT’s Street Soccer in 2014 after going through a tough time. “It was just amazing – for a lot of the players it was their first time overseas. We were all very nervous.”

“We got along really well, we communicated. It was just great team spirit with the players and coaches,” says Nik. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity it gave us. I got back and was telling everyone about how the experience has helped me move on. A few weeks after coming back I decided to study a Bachelor of Criminology and Forensic Psychology – and that’s what I’m doing right now. I think the World Cup really helped me to decide what to do, because a lot of players from different countries have gone through really terrible times. They were good people – and I’d like to study something that will help others.”

The Big Issue’s Street Soccer Program uses soccer to help people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage positively change their lives and reconnect with the community. In weekly sessions participants get active, make friends, and are connected to support staff that can address individual issues and needs.

Since launching nationally in 2007 Street Soccer has engaged more than 10,000 participants, with many players reporting positive changes in their lives as a result of their participation. A 2016 survey of Street Soccer players found the program was achieving many health outcomes for participants, such as:

  • 96% reported improved physical fitness
  • 94% were motivated to improve or maintain their physical and mental health
  • 94% said Street Soccer has given them a more positive outlook on life

Visit here to learn more about the program and its locations.

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