Congratulations to the Welsh Dragons as they arrive home from Mexico
The Welsh team came home on 17th October in high spirits after a fantastic performance in the Homeless World Cup international football tournament in Mexico.
During the nine day tournament the Welsh Homeless World Cup team won seven matches out of thirteen beating Denmark, Canada, France, Sweden, Hong Kong, Philippines and Argentina. At the final stage the team were runners up in the "de la Calle a la Cancha" ("From the streets to the court") Cup, one of the six trophies up for grabs, narrowly losing to Peru 5-6 in the finals.
Over £13,000 of funding from The Welsh Government, Sport Wales, Gwalia as well as other sporting partners made it possible for the Welsh team to participate in the Homeless World Cup where the Welsh team came across 56 nations from around the world. The Homeless World Cup brings together teams of socially excluded people to demonstrate that homeless people have talent, passion and potential.
Ashley Williams, Swansea City defender and Street Football Wales Ambassador said: “I really want to congratulate the Welsh homeless team ‘The Welsh Dragons’ on their performance at last weeks Homeless World Cup, the tournament looked absolutely fantastic from what I saw and the team can be really proud of their best ever performance at the tournament and the way they represented their country admirably. The team now need to take this momentum into their own personal lives and understand that they can go on, achieve further dreams and change their lives around.
“I am really happy to be involved in SFW and will continue to give this brilliant project that works tirelessly to help some of the most disadvantaged in society as much support as I can in the future. I am aware of the projects ambition to take a male and a female team to next years Homeless World Cup, fully support this, applaud the ambition and would encourage other welsh footballers to support this cause.”
Matthew Green, aged 24 from Cardiff is the captain of the Welsh team: “Going to Mexico and taking part in the Homeless World Cup is a once in a lifetime experience for all the team – the funding and support we’ve had from everyone really means a lot to us.
“We were really close to winning a tournament cup, it’s a shame that we didn’t but I know that all the boys did their best and we are all just very happy being able to represent Wales and been given the opportunity to go to Mexico. We met a lot of different people from different countries and cultures but with similar backgrounds. It was good to see that we are all came together to tackle homelessness.”
Street Football Wales
SFW is a social inclusion project designed to engage with those furthest away from mainstream sport provision. It has been proved that recreational and cultural activities can play a vital role in building the confidence of homeless people to address long term problems. Sport can play a huge part in breaking the cycle of homelessness amongst vulnerable people and SFW monitors the progress of participants in relation to homelessness and other needs such as mental wellbeing and health, substance misuse and housing advice and support. The league involves both men and women using a fair play points system to build self development into actual rewards.
Homeless World Cup
The Homeless World Cup was founded in 2001 with the aim of using sport as a common ground to unite homeless people around the world. The first tournament took place in 2003 in Graz, Austria and sionce then, host cities have included Gothenburg, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Melbourne, Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and now Mexico City who hosted the 2012 competition.