Huntingdon Man Laces Up For England At Homeless World Cup
published on 27 Oct 2014
A former resident of a Salvation Army centre for people who are homeless has been competing in the Homeless World Cup in Chile after being picked for the England team.
Josh took part in trials for the team and joined 12 other men and women on the England football team for the annual tournament – which runs from 19 – 26 October and includes 64 teams from across the globe.
Josh Brinkman, 22, lost his home 18 months ago, and was sleeping in his car until he moved into The Salvation Army’s Kings Ripton Court Lifehouse, Sapley. Josh always loved football, taking part in The Salvation Army’s annual five-a-side football tournament in Birmingham and jumping at the chance to join up with the Homeless FA and play at the home of Norwich City, Carrow Road earlier this year.
Josh said: “I’ve never travelled as far as Santiago before. I’ve made good friends in the team, there are people from all over the country involved – and the Scousers have the best banter – I’m really looking forward to seeing them all again.”
Players on the Homeless FA’s England team are not picked just according to their football ability. They are also selected with a particular focus on their positive attitude, team work, commitment, interpersonal skills, and improved physical health.
The Homeless FA aims to tackle the negative stigma around people who experience homelessness. They work closely with the Manchester United Foundation to create an inspiring ‘Believe FC’ programme of personal development for all Team England players, run empowering anti-discrimination workshops with headline partners Kick it Out, and have recently partnered with Stonewall. All Team England players wear Stonewall’s iconic Rainbow Laces, to support their campaign to end homophobia in football.
Gareth Parker, head of the Homeless FA, said: “So far, over two thirds of the men and women that have completed the Homeless FA Team England programme go on to achieve more qualifications, well over half of our players improve their housing situation, and a third find a full-time job. Perhaps most importantly, every single one says that they feel more confident. So we know what we're doing works. It works because we inspire and empower them to make a positive change in their lives, whilst giving them the confidence and tools to do so.”