Team confident of trophy success

published on 7 Sep 2022

A football team at a Lifehouse run by The Salvation Army in Ipswich is confident of success when it enters a national tournament for people who are homeless.

Lyndon House supports 39 men over the age of 18. The Lyndon House Lifehouse regularly enters a team for The Partnership Trophy, a tournament run by the church and charity bringing together Lifehouses and homelessness support services from across the UK. This year’s event is due to take place in Manchester.

Daiva Zubaviciute is program manager at Lyndon House and will be accompanying the team. She’s friends with James Lucas, manager of local team AFC Claydon who have enjoyed league and cup success. So when he agreed to coach the team, she was delighted.

Daiva said: “He jumped at the opportunity, and we couldn’t be more grateful for his contributions and how he has helped the residents find some passion for sport and for their own physical fitness.

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The team from Lyndon House have been training with local coach James Lucas

“James has put in a tremendous amount of patience and hard work these past few months in his own time to do this with our residents. We can’t thank him enough for his generosity and the smiles he has put on the team’s faces.”

James says he’s confident they will have a successful run in the competition.

He said: “Daiva told me that the boys could play football, wanted to go tournaments and would benefit from a coach to help them prepare and train in the right way. I’ve been encouraging them and want to help them progress further so they feel more comfortable when playing matches.”

James has led his team from the fourth division to Division One while AFC Claydon also won the league cup and finished runners up in the Suffolk FA Cup. He said he jumped at the chance to help the team.

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James says he's been impressed with what he has seen from the team

James said: “I like to see guys achieve what they want to do and want to give them the best chance in the competition. We’ve been working on fitness, ball control and helping each other, then playing mini games at the end of sessions. Hopefully they will be able to put what we’ve learnt into practice during matches.

“Before the first training session, I wasn’t expecting a lot other than hard work. But I was totally wrong. The boys knew the game, wanted to improve their fitness and drills and I’ve also been helping them bond as a team.”

Initial signs are looking promising. James set up a match against Claydon squad members and was impressed with what he saw.

He said: “The Lifehouse team performed well and the ability is definitely there. They kept up with Claydon, showed good levels of fitness and ball control. If they compete like that, they’re in with a great chance. Sadly I can’t be in Manchester but perhaps I could give my thoughts to the team over a video chat.

“If they come back with the cup, we’ll start earlier next year and look at taking them to other tournaments.”

Salvation Army officer speaking with a woman in one of our centres.

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