14 September 2015

SOCCER is bringing together homeless sportsmen and women from around the globe this week, as the 2015 Homeless World Cup kicks off in Amsterdam. The Salvation Army in The Netherlands is co-organiser of this established international sporting event which runs from 12–19 September. 

Homelessness commonly ‘forces people into isolation’, explains partner agency Stichting Life Goals. ‘When a homeless person gets involved in football, they build relationships; they become teammates who learn to trust and share. The sense of empowerment that comes from participating in street football helps homeless people see that they can change their lives.’

Following Saturday’s opening ceremony attended by King of The Netherlands, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the home nation’s men’s team won convincingly in its match against Northern Ireland. In all, 500 players – representing 48 countries – are taking part in this year’s tournament.

But the results are ‘not important’ says The Salvation Army’s Henk Dijkstra. ‘It is about the players – they are proud of themselves. That is truly invaluable … they will never forget this experience.’

The first day concluded in style as players, coaches and volunteers attended a gala evening hosted by The Salvation Army at the capital’s renowned Heineken Music Hall. Flag bearers paraded through the auditorium applauded by the 3,500-strong audience, many of whom waved scarves proclaiming ‘together we’re one’. The gala, which was also live-streamed via Periscope, included international music, dance and comedy.

Full coverage of the 2015 Homeless World Cup – including live streaming of matches – is available at www.homelessworldcup.org

Report by IHQ Communications

Tags: Europe, Events