A successful Homeless World Cup campaign for Cymru at the Homeless World Cup 2023.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary as a tournament, the Homeless World Cup was first played in Graz, Austria back in July 2003. Fast forward 20 years and the tournament has welcomed over 800 players, 94% of which said the tournament had positively impacted their lives, 83% improved their social relations with family and friends and 77% said it'd changed their lives significantly being involved in Football.
At Street Football Wales (SFW) they offer opportunities for people who have been socially isolated and excluded, by providing an open, inclusive and safe environment to come and play football, make friends, build self-confidence and to support them on their own personal journeys. Street Football Wales aimed to raise over £30,000 to provide this opportunity to a Men's and Women's national team to travel to the 2023 Homeless World Cup set to take place in Sacramento, California.
Spending just over a week in the States, and backed by a nation, Cymru received good luck messages from the likes of Helen Ward (SFW Ambassador), Phil Parkinson, Rubin Colwill, Ceri Holland, Carrie Jones and Alan Curtis.
Whilst representing Cymru in their own competition, SFW got the chance to meet Cymru women's international's in California as they faced off against the USA in an international friendly at Paypal Park. The final preparation game for the US team before they headed off to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.
Speaking with the SFW media team during the group stages and asked about how it felt to be part of team Cymru, Jem answered "It's amazing, we're all family, we all look after each other and just to be a part of this team is a complete honour and a great opportunity to be a part of. I really do consider this team to be a part of my family and I'm really happy to be a part of it."
With 28 teams competing in the Men's tournament and 12 in the Women's competition, Cymru finished 15th and 8th respectively. But that wasn't the last appearance for Cymru, as Cymru player Natalie took charge as the designated referee in the Homeless World Cup Final!
To learn more about the work Street Football Wales does throughout Cymru: Street Football Wales - About Us