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The road to Rio

October 1st 2010

Ryan Wilson:

Despite not returning with the trophy, the Scotland team performed well at the Homeless World Cup and enjoyed their unique experience in Rio.

The tournament was held in a purpose-built stadium on Copacabana beach between 19-26 September, with 43 teams competing to be crowned this year's champions.

Scotland tasted success in 2007 and have been an ever- present at the Homeless World Cup since it began in 2003. With a squad of eight players, lead by manager and former player David Duke, the team flew out to Brazil in a confident mood.

This optimism was increased on the first day, as a hard fought victory against Hungary was followed by an impressive win over the Netherlands, and Scotland were sitting top of their group with a healthy number of goals.

Defeats to Belgium and Ireland meant that the team faced a difficult task to make it to the final, but this didn't stop the players expressing themselves on the pitch. They displayed confidence and determination to beat Italy and the USA, setting up a showdown with the Auld Enemy, England.

This was to be the game of the tournament, as Scotland triumphed 11-10 (pictured) thanks to a last-gasp winner from Liam Forbes. At the end of the match, the players received a standing ovation - the only time this occurred in the whole competition. Victory in this game meant that the team finished 13th out of the 43 nations taking part.

There is a full-length video of the brilliant Scotland v England match on YouTube.

Scotland's star player, Ryan Wilson, 21, scored 36 goals at the Homeless World Cup including six against England. After playing in Rio, Wilson feels that the experience has given him a huge boost. He said: "It's a life-changing thing for me. It's incredible to meet all of the different people from around the world and share this experience. Being here has given me more confidence in myself."

Wilson left home because of family problems. He moved into a housing project in Cambuslang, Glasgow, and it was here that he first learnt about the Homeless World Cup:

"I'd been living in a housing unit for seven months and someone told me about the Homeless World Cup. I've always enjoyed football so I went to the trials to try and get onto the team. When I was told I was in the squad it was an amazing feeling to know I'd be going to Rio to represent my country."

Despite the Scotland players not knowing each other before the squad was decided, they gelled quickly and have become great friends in Rio. Wilson said:

"Being part of the team has been brilliant. It's a great wee family. We've all had different problems but coming here has helped everyone." These feelings were echoed by team-mate Liam Forbes, who said after the historic win against England: "This experience gives people the boost they need in life. We've made a lot of good friends and some great memories. To score the winner against England for your country is one of the best things you can do!"

Since joining the Scotland squad, Ryan Wilson has also taken part in Wayne Rooney's Street Striker, which is to be shown on television in October. Next year he plans to go to the 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris as a coach with the team. Wilson said:

"Things have been going great. I made it to the last 20 of the Street Striker competition and then I came to play in Rio. I'm now involved with Street Soccer Scotland as well, so I want to come back next year to help as a coach."

All the Scotland squad agreed that Chile and Brazil had been the best two teams to watch in this year's tournament. It was no surprise to the players then that they were paired in the final, and the Scotland team watched from the stands as hosts Brazil thrashed Chile 6-0 to lift the cup and celebrate in style.

· For Scotland match reports, go online to

· More information on Street Soccer Scotland can be found at


October 2010



Counts are optional

A moving target

Rough sleeper dies in custody

ITV plans new homeless reality TV show

Refurb rumours

Man charged with Ilford murder

They're not lovin' it

Keeping the Rhythm

Soup runs come in from the cold

Peter Pickles completes second walk for charity

Cyrenians set sail

The shape of things to come

The road to Rio

Byte Night 2010

Aberdeen homeless development confirmed

Glasgow homeless hostel closure

Shock over Highland B&B figures

Birmingham Skylight arrives

Tenants told to make up Housing Benefit shortfall

Homeless choir's debut album

Street Shield 17: Where's the Cardboard Shield?


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