Pictures by Chris McIntyre
This week Everton in the Community arranged a small training session led by Rachel Brown for some of the girls who have been taking part in the selection process for the Homeless World Cup. Many media outlets were keen to take a look at the stars of the show; Jessica Lomax & Rebecca Mushrow who will be travelling to Mexico next week.
LHFC sent along our very own volunteer journalist Declan McSweeney to update us with the latest instalment of the ‘Road to Mexico’ adventure…
Liverpool Homeless Football Club (LHFC) has been in existence since 2007, and is linked to the Homeless FA, who were recently established to co-ordinate the National Team going to the 2012 Homeless World Cup.
While initially the focus was solely on homeless men, in latter months, women have begun to get involved. Two young local women, Jessica Lomax (pictured right) from Huyton and Becca Mushrow from Toxteth, have been selected as part of the England team which will be involved in the Homeless World Cup in Mexico City, starting on October 6 and continuing to October 14.
As part of the selection process for Mexico, the Homeless FA & LHFC have worked closely with Everton in the Community to deliver a 6 week course this summer, and when you visit a training session, you will see that the women are dressed in Everton gear. (In addition to Everton, the Homeless FA also engaged other clubs around England to support the initiative in their own areas , namely Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal.)
Henry Mooney, Engagement Officer, Everton in the Community, said that the project gave the women a chance to qualify for Community Sports Awards. He stressed that it gave them greater confidence and helped them make friends.
One of the players, Gillian Velkoza, said she started playing just six weeks ago, and is hoping to get a team organised in Liverpool’s Whitechapel Centre. Her twin sister (they are, in fact, two of triplets), Louise, got involved at the same time, and says she is ‘excited’ about getting involved, and wants to train as a football coach.
Chairman of LHFC John Finnigan was pleased to reveal that training for Women on Merseyside will continue with weekly LHFC sessions delivered by Rachel Brown. This will commence towards the end of October and John added ‘we are keen to build on the success and enthusiasm created over the summer’. Stay tuned for more information on this.
Jess Lomax has been playing football since she was 10, but only got involved in LHFC four months ago. She hopes to become a professional player.
Becca Mushrow has also played since she was a child and is looking forward to a ‘once in a lifetime experience’ in Mexico. She adds she is ‘lucky to be coached by Rachel and Fara”, referring to Rachel Brown and Fara Williams (Becca & Fara in action below).
Rachel, a goalkeeper with Everton’s ladies’ team, has also played for England and was on Team GB during the Olympics. She has been a patron of LHFC for the past six years and is full of praise for its work. Fara Williams, who is a national patron of the Homeless FA, has been an England captain, and has personal experience of homelessness.
Last year’s Homeless World Cup was won by Scotland, which is again entering this year, while Wales is entering for the first time. There is no team from Northern Ireland, though there is one from the Republic of Ireland. In all, over 50 countries will be represented at the Mexican games.
The Homeless World Cup Foundation explains that it “uses the power of football to attract homeless people and offer them the chance to change their lives.
Homelessness can force people into isolation, which affects their ability to share, communicate their thoughts and work with others. Day-to-day survival needs take priority over longer term planning – often resulting in a chaotic lifestyle.”
It adds “When a homeless person gets involved in football they communicate and build relationships with others; they become teammates, learning to trust and share; they have a responsibility to attend training sessions and games, to be on time and prepared to participate. They feel part of something.
These skills and attributes are all transferable to daily life and therefore help homeless people see that they can change their lives.
Our National Partners provide, or provide access to, the professional services needed – educational, employment, health or legal advice. National Partners also run tournaments and trials to select the eight players who make the journey to the annual tournament each year, and support them in making the most of this experience on their return afterwards… moving on in their lives and becoming the models and ambassadors for other homeless people in their countries.
Whilst the national teams are important and the players go on to have a life-changing experience at the tournament, they are only the tip of the iceberg and represent only a small proportion of the people positively impacted by our work.”
For further information on the games, see http://www.homelessworldcup.org/