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Homeless footballer transforms lives

May 11th 2012


A homeless football player who used the game to transform not only his life, but the lives of other young people, has been nominated for a Scottish newspaper award.

Matthew Ramsay from Dundee was jobless, homeless and had no confidence in himself or direction in his life when the charity Street Soccer spotted his passion and talent for the game.

Since then Matthew has gone on to play for Scotland in the Homeless World Cup in Paris last year, where he scored in every game, except the final. Since returning from Paris, Matthew has used football as a way of reaching young people facing homelessness and exclusion by volunteering as a coach.

His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed and he’s since been nominated for the adult football category of the Sunday Mail Grassroots Awards.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail, Matthew said: “I just wanted to give something back after all that Street Soccer did for me. Before, I had no confidence and had lost motivation to do anything positive to improve my life.”

After being made redundant two years after leaving school Matthew said he started to drift into bad habits, drinking too much and living between houses, sleeping on his sister’s sofa or staying with friends.

Looking back on his time at the Homeless World Cup, Matthew said he had nearly backed out of the competition because he was the only player from Dundee and was nervous about going away with strangers.

But he said the experience of playing in front of 2,000 people and winning had made him a different person and he’s now working hard to change his life for the better, actively looking for work and hoping to get his own place.

For Matthew, it’s not only his life he hopes to improve but those of other people facing homelessness and exclusion: “If I can help other people improve their situations too by working with Street Soccer, it will mean a lot to me,” he added.

The Homeless World Cup Foundation operates through a network of 73 partner organisations around the world from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and, closer to home, Street Soccer Scotland.

Scot Mel Young and Austrian Harald Schmied came up with the idea of a homeless world cup following a conference in 2001, and organised the first tournament in Graz in 2003. Since then the tournament has grown to become a global event. Mexico City will host the next Homeless World Cup when 72 teams are expected to play.


May 2012



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Homeless drop “not credible”

Homeless footballer transforms lives

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Homeless candidate steps down from Orlando election race

US hotspots surveyed


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