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Footballer reveals: "I was homeless for six years"

July 09 2014
Williams works with Homeless FA. © BBC Williams works with Homeless FA. © BBC
Midfielder Fara Williams kept her homelessness secret from team-mates

One of England’s leading footballers has revealed that she was homeless for six years while getting started in the game.

Midfielder Fara Williams, who is now only three matches away from becoming England’s most capped player, told BBC Sport about her experience of sleeping rough and staying in hostels – and keeping her homelessness secret from her team-mates.

"I just didn't want to tell people," Williams said, speaking about the experience for the first time. "People have a judgement of who should be homeless and who shouldn't, and I felt people would judge me.

"I put on a brave face and lived my life as a normal person would, as though I was living at home."

The 30-year-old Liverpool Ladies player, who has made 127 appearances for England, including playing during the 2012 Olympics, spent her 18th and 21st birthdays living in hostels.

Williams said: "The cause of most homelessness, which people aren't aware of, is family breakdown – it's not just addictions, that's just what people turn to [as a result of being homeless].

"People are mainly scared of the homeless they see on the streets. They're intimidated by them but they're normal people with problems. We all have problems.” Williams now works with the Homeless FA, where she is a patron of the charity as well as giving football coaching to homeless girls and women every week.

"To have the opportunity to help these girls is something that I didn't want to turn down. I wanted to share my story with them and show them that there is a pathway to get out of the situation they're in," Williams said.

"It's hard because you feel sorry for yourself [when you're homeless]. You feel like no one's there for you. I try to show them that there are people out there that want to help them, but also they've got to help themselves.

"I don't think it should matter what your background is," adds Williams. "For me, you can do it no matter where you live."

Since 2012, the Homeless FA charity has used football to support and motivate homeless people, and to challenge negative perceptions of the issue.