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Stirling Albion signs homeless player

September 16 2011
 Homeless World Cup competitor grabs his chance


A homeless football player has been signed to Stirling Albion FC after being given the chance to raise his game through training for the Homeless World Cup.

Sean Lawrence will play for Stirling Albion FC after he was invited to try out for the second division side on 4 June. The defender currently plays for Scotland’s Homeless World Cup five-a-side team. Street Soccer Scotland is currently seeded sixth in international homeless football.

Along with team-mate Liam Forbes, Lawrence, 20, was invited to attend the ‘So You Think You’re Good Enough?’ trials held at Albion’s Forthbank homeground. The aim was both to add to next season’s line up (eight players so far) and to raise money for cash-strapped Albion. Thirty hopefuls paid a £200 fee to participate in the trials, which consisted of a series of six 25-minute matches.

The games were observed by team manager Jocky Scott, assistant John Blackley, as well as Ally Dick, former Spurs striker, and scout Kevin Hamill. Lawrence and Forbes were invited to the trial and thus had the fee waived.

Meanwhile, the eighth Homeless World Cup kicked off last month in Paris.

The Edinburgh-based operation, joint founded by Mel Young, who also set up The Big Issue Scotland, was born in 2003 and is going from strength to strength. This year, 48 nations took part in the tournament held in the French capital.

Organisers claim sport is the best way to help people turn their lives around, allowing them to became ‘heroes’ on the pitch and feel proud of both themselves and their nation.

Research shows that more than 70 per cent of the players in previous World Cups have moved on since the experience, getting jobs, houses or recovering from addiction problems.

"We didn't believe the research at first, but we checked and checked," Mel Young told the Independent newspaper. "Being part of a team creates a change and allows people to participate in something international. You watch them standing proud and almost growing physically."

In 2007, Scotland lifted the trophy, and this year its women’s team also competed for the first time.

Look out for news of how Scotland’s teams fared in next month’s Pavement.