Homeless FA http://homelessfa.org The Homeless FA supports all initiatives that use football as a means of improving the lives of homeless people in England Fri, 01 Apr 2016 13:40:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.11 Team England 2015 Celebration – Crossbars http://www.homelessfa.org/team-england-2015-celebration-crossbars-and-water-bottles/ http://www.homelessfa.org/team-england-2015-celebration-crossbars-and-water-bottles/#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2015 16:30:49 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2536 A water bottle and a crossbar, fairly everyday objects for any footballer but ones which take on a particular significance to players who have been part of Homeless FA workshops.

Homeless FA events teach more than football skills; workshops during all our activities focus on positivity, perspective and confidence while setting goals for a future in which players achieve their potential.

Here’s what Team England players see in the picture below.


‘When you’re feeling down the crossbar is the top of the goal that’s where you look. Whatever keeps you down or if you’re having a bad day you get your chin up.

‘Crossbar means keep your head up and carry on. In my case when I was in goal and they would say it to me and it doesn’t matter how many goals have gone in.

‘You can’t crush a full water bottle so we say you have to keep it full. When it’s half full you’re not giving 100%, when it’s full you are and you’re breaking the barriers of what you’ve got to face.

‘Now is our last time together, we’re going to take so much of it to our future jobs, life, whatever.

‘I’m going to keep my water bottle filled with everything I’ve learnt here.’

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Team England 2015 Celebration – Aaron’s Blog http://www.homelessfa.org/team-england-2015-celebration-aarons-blog/ http://www.homelessfa.org/team-england-2015-celebration-aarons-blog/#comments Thu, 10 Dec 2015 00:33:32 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2522 Aaron is with the rest of Team England coaches, players and mentors at St. George’s Park to celebrate all their achievements in 2015. Now making progress in the world of professional coaching, Aaron reflects on his time as a coach with the Homeless FA.

Image: Joana Freitas


I’ve always loved my football. I first learnt to communicate on the football field, after years of not communicating properly with people.

Back then, football was about winning for me, beating everybody, being the best.

I gave the Homeless FA a shot and was selected, I had just come out of rehab and football was a foundation point of me getting well again.

Training at a professional football club was massive, but then so was finding out that football was a very small part of it.

Using football as a tool to draw people in, help better their lives, it’s a universal language.

I didn’t get picked for Team England at first, I was happy for those who did but I felt disappointment. It rattled me, so I came out of that and started coaching even more. If you’re not feeling good in yourself, go and help someone else, you’ll feel better.

Then they opened applications again to become a coach or mentor. The Homeless FA signed me up so I continued on my amazing journey with them, learning more about myself than I could ever think possible.

I’m now a player development coach at the Southampton Foundation, I’m also working in football for people with disabilities.

I’ve gone from living with addiction with nowhere to go, being in that pitiful despair to having my Nike kit on, with ‘Homeless FA’ and ‘England’ written on it and people asking about it.

This journey has taken me to Southampton Football Club, I could never have dreamed of being there. The Homeless FA give you something bigger and keep you progressing up the ladder.

But the thing to remember is that there’s always someone coming up behind me, so give them a hand up each step that you leave behind.

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ISFF 2015 – Alex’s Blog – Hard Work at the Etihad http://www.homelessfa.org/isff-2015-alexs-blog-hard-work-at-the-etihad/ http://www.homelessfa.org/isff-2015-alexs-blog-hard-work-at-the-etihad/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2015 19:47:37 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2506 Alex spent day three of the International Street Football Festival visiting the Etihad stadium and talking about perspective in a workshop with the other players.

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Image: Joana Freitas

Everybody’s been so welcoming and friendly, seeing everyone pull together has been amazing.

I really enjoyed today’s workshop, sometimes my perspective can be different from other people’s. I have to accept that, it’s something I’ve maybe struggled with in the past.

Now with a wider experience, meeting a whole range of people with different personalities, it’s made me realise everybody has their own opinions. It’s been a big eye opener, I’m not always right.

I’ve been brought up as a die-hard red so visiting the Etihad was hard work for me. I never thought I’d set foot in that stadium unless I was in the away end.

But I admire what the club is doing right down to the youth level, I basically had to change my perspective on that as well.

Seeing the Homeless FA display in the National Football Museum, I’m at the front of the picture in it. To go from where I’ve come from to be part of something that people from all over the world will see is unbelievable.

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ISFF 2015 – Maxx’s Blog – Focusing on the Positives http://www.homelessfa.org/isff-2015-maxxs-blog-focusing-on-the-positives/ http://www.homelessfa.org/isff-2015-maxxs-blog-focusing-on-the-positives/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2015 09:39:52 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2499 On day two of ISFF 2015 Maxx joined Team England and the Mexican and Dutch national sides at St. George’s Park, the headquarters of England’s professional teams. After training the players took part in a workshop about positivity, something Maxx feels will stay with her longer than this week-long event.

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Image: Joana Freitas

Training at St. George’s Park was like going home, the place felt like a part of me. Nothing there is makeshift, everything is perfect. I couldn’t wish for a better or more welcoming place.

When some people hear the label homeless and they’re like ‘oh god!’ But all the people at St. George’s Park are lovely.

I’d never connected with a workshop before like I did with the one on positivity today. I didn’t cry but I felt so emotional. At the end we each had to write something positive down about someone else and then it gets passed around and comes back to you.

They said I was funny and kind, I didn’t expect that from people I haven’t known for years.

When I was homeless if someone was nice to me I thought it was because they wanted something. I sat down and thought about what happened today, that people wouldn’t say those nice things unless they meant them, that they were my friends.

It twigged. I’m going to take that away with me.

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ISFF 2015 – Kabir’s blog – Theatre of Dreams http://www.homelessfa.org/isff-2015-kabirs-blog-theatre-of-dreams/ http://www.homelessfa.org/isff-2015-kabirs-blog-theatre-of-dreams/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2015 18:34:11 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2491 Team England are in Manchester for the International Street Football Festival 2015 with the Dutch and Mexican national teams. On the first full day of the week-long event they visited Old Trafford and took part in a teamwork workshop. It wasn’t the first trip to the Theatre of Dreams for United fan Kabir.

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Image: Joana Freitas

Last time I was at Old Trafford Bryan Robson scored his last goal for us, today I was in the dressing room with all the shirts. You’d never get a chance like that with my old lifestyle. That’s once in a lifetime stuff, you don’t get that on the regular.

It’s a bit daunting at first when you’re stuck together with the other teams who don’t speak English, but you have to challenge yourself, make other people feel comfortable.

We’ve gained from it. Everyone’s laughing and joking and coming out of their shell. In the teamwork workshop I was with a Mexican girl who didn’t speak a word of English. I got my phone out and we both used the translator, passing it back and forth. We got through and worked it out – I thought that was quite apt.

It’s all about personal growth, looking at your weak points not just your strong points. When you feel vulnerable, it’s great to know your team has your back and it’s OK to not be OK.

It’s been a brilliant day and to top it off we just played football overlooking the stadium.



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HWC 2015 – Dan’s blog – Teamwork and Winning http://www.homelessfa.org/dans-blog-teamwork-and-winning/ http://www.homelessfa.org/dans-blog-teamwork-and-winning/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2015 06:43:25 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2472 Image: Joana Freitas

Image: Joana Freitas

Dan, who was picked for Team England after completing our Training Centre, at Bristol City, captained the men’s side on Wednesday as the men’s team started to find their feet in the tournament and began to play with more confidence.

Wednesday went really well and I think we’ve seen a major difference since the start of the week.

We’ve gelled off the pitch and that’s brought us together as a unit rather than leaving us to act as individuals. And the coaching has really helped us, they’ve been so patient. This has been so much more that what I was expecting. It’s changed the way I think about football. I don’t like losing but losing over the past few days, we’ve all been coming of the pitch together, smiling, knowing that people have got your back.

Words can’t describe how I felt being captain. I was very emotional and had a lump in my throat. Every day is getting better and better. I’m so happy, I’m just looking forward to hanging out with the squad.


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HWC 2015 – Nathan’s blog – Back to the Future http://www.homelessfa.org/hwc-nathans-blog-back-to-the-future/ http://www.homelessfa.org/hwc-nathans-blog-back-to-the-future/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2015 06:25:17 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2465 At 32 Nathan is one of the older members of the squad at this year’s Homeless World Cup. In today’s blog, the East Londoner to talk about teamwork and how seeing familiar faces – he was a trainee at West Ham as a youngster - has helped give him focus for the future.

Nathan was also interviewed by the Evening Standard. Take a look here.

Image: Joana Freitas

Image: Joana Freitas

It was a privilege to be captain yesterday. It was one of the best feelings I’ve had. It helped because the football has been frustrating at times. We know we have ability but I think we’ve not implemented everything we’ve been taught in training. But we’ve come together over the last few days and had some good results and performances. Everyone has had their little anxieties and different moments of pressure. But we’re getting stronger together. The boys, the girls, they feel like a big family.

It’s hard to say what the best moment of the week has been because there’s been so much. The opening ceremony was amazing but yesterday was a lot of fun. It’s brilliant to see Harry and Fara. I was a schoolboy at West Ham when Harry was manager there, and Fara is an England International so they’re two great English role models to have around.

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HWC 2015 – Saskia’s Blog – Meeting heroes http://www.homelessfa.org/homeless-world-cup-2015-saskias-blog-meeting-heroes/ http://www.homelessfa.org/homeless-world-cup-2015-saskias-blog-meeting-heroes/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2015 08:10:21 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2459 Another amazing day yesterday for the Team England with our Patron Fara Williams and BT Sport Supporters’ Club Ambassador Harry Redknapp both pitchside lending their support to Team England.

The Homeless World Cup team interviewed Fara and our Women’s captain, Saskia, about the tournament so far. Watch the video and read Saskia’s thoughts below.

We walked into that tent and Fara Williams was there and then Harry Redknapp came in and told me I was going to be captain and I thought I was going to cry. Meeting Fara was amazing, she’s the biggest inspiration to me. She’s like one of us; she’s not separate. We shared a house with her and it was amazing just sitting talking with her about random things. She’s a celebrity but she doesn’t snub us, she’s easy to relate to.

I had to make a decision about whether to play the first game because I had an injury. I decided to rest it up and stretch before the second game. It was a hard decision to make but I think it was definitely the right one.

I’m a much different person now to when I started at the Manchester City Training Centre. I’ve got this far and I can see myself back then: I was all over the place and there was so much going on. I’ve grown up and learned that life’s not a joke. It’s the Homeless FA that’s done that, it’s given me a reason to get out of bed in the morning and taught me to take every opportunity you get, because you’ll regret it if you don’t.


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Homeless World Cup 2015 – Hannah’s Blog – Family http://www.homelessfa.org/homeless-world-cup-2015-hannahs-blog-we-are-family/ http://www.homelessfa.org/homeless-world-cup-2015-hannahs-blog-we-are-family/#comments Sun, 13 Sep 2015 19:30:07 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2454 We will be getting each of our players to share their thoughts every day we are playing in Amsterdam. Follow us on Twitter or Like our  Facebook page to keep up with Captain’s blogs, interviews and photo stories. Today we spoke to yesterday’s captains, Hannah and Richie.

Goalkeeper Hannah, who came through our Training Centre at Albion in the Community, was the women’s Team England captain on the first day of the tournament as nearly 70 countries participating in this year’s Homeless World Cup paraded through Amsterdam and played the first round of matches. Richie was a graduate of our Everton FC Training Centre and you can hear his thoughts on yesterday below Hannah’s story or by clicking here.

Hannah’s blog
I never expected the Homeless World Cup to be like this. I thought it would be amazing but this is really special.

I was flag bearer yesterday and it was amazing. We walked around the pitch and the city and there were lots of people cheering. It meant everything to be captain of Team England yesterday, it was crazy. I definitely wasn’t expecting it.

The game yesterday was tough but it almost doesn’t matter. The Mexican side were like professional footballers, they are always near or in the final and it felt a bit like being thrown in the deep end. It was hard being in goal but we have already progressed since yesterday and what’s important is we have already come back together as a team, like a family. This morning’s training was great because our passing and movement was much tighter.

But it’s definitely not just about the football. Getting involved with the different countries has been so important, and it’s great to be staying together in the same complex. There’s such a language barrier but it’s wicked to be speaking through that and finding out about them: it feels like I can go to visit friends in different countries now.

Image: Joana Freitas

Image: Joana Freitas

Richie’s thoughts
The men’s side were captained by Richie during yesterday’s opening ceremony and first match. He spoke to us about how he felt as though he was going to explode with emotion during the national anthems. Listen to his story here.



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Futebol de Rua 2015 – Tara’s blog – New confidence http://www.homelessfa.org/tara-blog-scoring-with-confidence/ http://www.homelessfa.org/tara-blog-scoring-with-confidence/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:03:52 +0000 http://www.homelessfa.org/?p=2444 Tara, who said all along she wanted to captain the side on the final day of Futebol de Rua, lead out the Team England women in their penultimate game this morning.

This match, however, was an England fixture with a difference. In the interests of Fair Play the more experienced Lisbon opposition swapped their jerseys for bibs and lined up alongside their English opponents and against their compatriots. The match was a friendly but competitive affair with some fantastic goals from both sides, including Tara.

We caught up with Tara before the match and asked her to share he thoughts on her week in Portugal and her time with Homeless FA.

Photo: Joana Freitas

Photo: Joana Freitas

When I first started at the Arsenal Training Centre I don’t think I said a word. I had no confidence, I was rock bottom, I was very shy. Over the is weeks every time I felt better and I never, ever in my wildest dreams thought that I would get chosen for England.

The whole experience has been fantastic. I scored my first goal and that was a big thing for me especially because while I was at the St Georges’ Park Training Camp my Nan passed away and my family didn’t tell me until I got back because they didn’t want to affect my football and I was thinking of not coming here but I said I wanted to score at least one goal for my Nan so I did that today and it just lifted my spirits.

I grew up playing football as a child and I’ve always been a sporty person. I basically got back into this because of my homelessness last year and to get fit again and it’s just been an amazing experience that has helped me get back on good terms with my family again and they’re slowly starting to come back into my life and the Homeless FA is a lot to do with that.



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