As Street Soccer NI’s team head off to Mexico for this year’s Homeless World Cup, we’re proud to be supporting their participation once again.
The 18 strong squad will represent Northern Ireland at the competition in Mexico City and this week, Northern Ireland World Cup hero and Street Soccer NI Ambassador, Gerry Armstrong, was on hand, along with the Housing Executive’s Caroline Connor, to see them off.
The Homeless World Cup is an inspirational week-long street football tournament that brings together more than 500 players from over 50 countries that have faced homelessness and social marginalisation. It is expected that the tournament will attract crowds of more than 80,000 with millions more watching online around the world.
Speaking at a special farewell reception at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Justin McMinn, Manager and Co-Founder of Street Soccer Northern Ireland said: “This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all the players, a chance to represent your country in an amazing country like Mexico. Over the last 5 years we have witnessed the impact this event has on the players with many of them breaking out of homelessness and unemployment on their return. They will come back full of confidence and motivation to make positive changes in their lives‘‘.
Joleen Larkin, player, added: “I feel ecstatic to be part of this experience and the opportunity to go to this year’s Homeless World Cup in Mexico. I ended up homeless due to a relationship breakdown and there wasn’t enough room in my family home. This is when I ended up in a hostel. At the minute I’m working. It’s hard balancing work life and hostel life, but with the help of Street Soccer it makes life that bit easier.”