The Homeless World Cup


Posted by in April's Magazine

Carolyn McKerracher reports on positive change through football with the SSS

Here’s a little brainteaser for you.

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What do Leith and Rio de Janeiro have in common?
That’s easy, I hear you cry, Rio was Leith’s most famous twin city (circa 2007-2009).

Okay, well done, but what do Leith, Rio de Janeiro and football, all have in common?

A little bit trickier, though not for a diehard Hibernian fan, who will recall the time (1953) when Hibs were invited to take part in an international tournament in the world famous Maracana stadium in Brazil. Ten points for effort, but we’re still not there yet.

What do Leith, Rio de Janeiro, football and homelessness all have in common?

Any ideas? Nope? None at all? The answer is of course – Street Soccer Scotland (SSS). Still none the wiser? Then read on…

SSS is a social enterprise firm, located in the south stand of Easter Road stadium.  Founded two years ago by Glaswegian David Duke, the firm uses football to engage with those who are socially excluded, primarily through free drop-in football sessions in and around Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. But, it’s not just about playing football, SSS also has an ‘academy’ based in Hibernian’s new training centre and managed by Jewel and Esk Valley College. Students there can study up to ten Scottish Qualification Authority modules over six months, in addition to their SFA coaching badges. They can also undertake personal development courses and become volunteers in football or other areas. SSS hopes to set up academies in Glasgow and Dundee and run a pilot scheme for girls in Glasgow.

Having left school with no qualifications and then experiencing homelessness, David Duke regained his self-respect through football. After playing in the 2004 Homeless World Cup, he decided to use his love of the game to reach others in similar circumstances. Six years later, David has an HND in Community Development and numerous coaching qualifications. He’s met and worked with some of the world’s greatest footballers; Eric Cantona, Scott McDonald and Darren Fletcher and has good working relationships with Celtic, Dundee United, Hibernian, Falkirk and Man United. In June, he will receive an honorary doctorate from Queen Margaret University, testament to how much he has achieved.

Crap World Cup songs
What about Rio? Well, not only do SSS organise football games, take on trainees and support vulnerable young people, they also recruit and coach the Scotland team for the Homeless World Cup, which this year, will be held in – yes, you guessed it – Rio de Janeiro. It may be time to dust off that Andy Cameron LP and put on the ginger wigs for, while Scotland didn’t have a sniff at South Africa, they might just have a chance in Brazil. Altogether now. “We’re on the march with David’s Army…”

Homeless World Cup, Copacabana beach, September 2010.

www.streetsoccerscotland.org

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