James Buckley’s story

My story – from England International to England Coach

James Buckley

In 2011 I played for England in the Homeless World Cup in Paris. Since then I have done many things with the support of the Homeless FA, as well as from two of their Community members, Liverpool Homeless FC and Crewe Foyer @ 189.

The Foyer @ 189 in Crewe is a hostel where I lived for 2 years with great staff support, they helped me engage and it was this encouragement that helped me play for England at the Homeless World Cup in France. After coming back from Paris I still had a lot to learn in life, and I had a few ups and downs, but ended up moving to Liverpool, where I worked with LHFC with continued support from the Crewe hostel.

Moving to Liverpool was one of the best things that ever happened to me! Don’t get me wrong, it was hard to like at first but it has now grown on me and I am really happy living here. Since moving here I have completed my FA level 1 and 2 coaching badges, moved into my own place for the first time, and signed up for a semi-professional team called AFC Liverpool. All of this brought back my passion for football and fitness.

Without the influence, motivation and opportunities that everyone at Liverpool Homeless FC have given me whilst being here I don’t think I would have moved as far forward as I where I am today. They helped carry on my football coaching badges and gave me experience by letting me coach the players of LHFC. The Crewe Hostel has also allowed me to do lots of coaching.

I am very passionate about my football and now even more so about my football coaching. The Homeless FA asked me to be the assistant coach for England in the 2012 Homeless World Cup in Mexico. It was such an honour for me to be part of an incredible set up, including the first ever women’s England squad. It was an amazing and very enjoyable trip, and I loved working with all the players as with the other uplifting and enthusiastic staff. It was incredible to work with coaches from Manchester United, as well as England international players Rachel Brown and Fara Williams. Fara in particular was a real inspiration to me! If I was to explain about the experience over in Mexico in detail I would be typing for way too long so I’ll keep it short and just say … The best thing I have done as of yet. LOVED IT!

Here I am (second from the left) proudly singing the national anthem before our game against Scotland.

I learnt so much over there and realised that my story could be such inspiration and I could be a role model and encourage others to change their lives. Now I know this new me which has blossomed I am enjoying life and got so much planned for the future. Gareth at the Homeless FA has asked me to be the Coach, YES not the assistant, the coach of the 2013 England men’s team. Ha-ha, THE COACH!

I have now moved into a 2 bedroom house which I share with one of the woman who made it into the England team in 2012 and was from Liverpool, called Rebecca Mushrow. I act as mentor for her. Yes I know, brave move… and it stresses me out a bit, but she is like my little sister and she is doing amazing now herself getting her out of hostel life and back on track.

I am at College doing an access science course studying Biology and Chemistry at A level so that I can go to university to do a degree in sports science. I haven’t yet chosen for certain, but have had 5 conditional offers from 3 universities in Liverpool, so role on September when I should be starting.

And there’s even more… I am now having driving lessons and apparently doing very well. I just need a part time job now!

For your chance to follow in James’ footsteps, apply for your 2013 Training Centre place today!