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23 March 2006

Street Soccer

Meet a soccer team with a difference, a street soccer team.


KATI: I love it, I love it. It's my favourite part of the week, and whenever things are really bad, like, I just think about it.

MARTIN HUGHES, EDITOR, "THE BIG ISSUE" MAGAZINE: We play behind the high-rises in Fitzroy. You don't have to be homeless to rock up and play.
It's amazing, all the different colours, creeds and stripes and ages and men and women who come down. They're all strangers, but as soon as one goal is scored everyone is hugging.

KATI: It's my most important thing in my life. And I'm not a big soccer star, I'm not, like, the best on the team or anything, I'm not talented, but I don't care. Like, I just want to come here. And it's made me, like, try to get to sleep at night and not want to go out and not want to drink or not take drugs because I feel like that affects my game.

MARTIN HUGHES: She saw a flyer on a noticeboard at one of the welfare agencies, she came along just out of curiosity. She didn't have any runners, she didn't have any sports gear, she played in knee-length high fashion boots for the first three weeks, and she was just so keen.

KATI: Probably because I've never played before, like, I'm learning something. I never thought that I would be able to do it so it makes me feel like I'm going to learn something and I'm not an idiot.

MARTIN HUGHES: The Homeless World Cup, it's organised by the International Network of Street Papers, of which the Big Issue is one.
The tournament itself is at the pinnacle of a global push to get disadvantaged youth and adults into sport as a way of improving their health and wellbeing.
Imagine if you never had the opportunity to participate in sport and to have regular exercise. Like, to do that, for it to be a new thing when you get the endorphins racing around your body; I mean it's an amazing high for these kids who, without it, will quite probably seek their highs elsewhere.

It's not just about a wino maybe sleeping on a park bench, it's not that at all. It's about kids like these, just people like you and me who are just carrying on with normal lives, sometimes take a wrong turn, sometimes have the rug pulled from underneath us, and we're just people in need of a helping hand.

KATI: Pretty much everyone I know that's homeless is an insomniac or has nightmares every single night because just the feelings that you have. Like it's just so, I don't know - it's so scary sometimes, not having a safe place,
I've been looking for, like, private rentals and stuff but it's really - I get really, really anxious. I just felt so bad, but by the end of the day and being at soccer I felt really good and okay. Like, does that make sense? I'm not sure. Like, it just puts me in a good mood so I don't get so overwhelmed with how I'm feeling.

MARTIN HUGHES: I don't fancy our chances of getting them to come down every week in the future if there is no, kind of, Homeless World Cup that we can all aspire to. We're desperately in need of getting sponsorship from an airline that can give us, basically, 11 tickets so we can go to Edinburgh in July. But we've tried a few different avenues, we've been knocked back.

KATI: When I first joined I didn't - like I didn't know that that was going to happen, and then when I found out I was like, "Wow". But at this stage it doesn't matter to me because, like, my life is getting fixed whether I go there or not. I've finally got some tools to put my life back together.


story notes

high-rises
A high-rise is a tall modern building with many floors.

homeless
Homeless means without a home. If someone is homeless they donít have anywhere to live, usually because they are poor.

rock up
Rock up is a slang phrase. It means turn up or arrive.

Example: What time are you going to rock up tonight?
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

thought
Here thought is the past tense of the irregular verb think. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: think

tournament
A tournament is a competition in which a series of games is played and the winners play against one another until only one winner is left.

pinnacle
The pinnacle is the top. Itís the highest or most important achievement.

disadvantaged
Disadvantaged means without the standard of living conditions that most people have. Disadvantaged youth are young people who havenít got the basic things most people take for granted - homes, schools and families.

endorphins
Endorphins are chemicals released in the brain during exercise. They can make you feel happy and energetic.

have the rug pulled from underneath us
To have the rug pulled from underneath you is to have support, confidence or help taken away suddenly.

Example: I had the rug pulled from undeneath my feet when my boyfriend said he was leaving me.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

helping hand
help; assistance

Example: The charity offers a helping hand to the homeless.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

felt
Here felt is the past tense of the irregular verb feel. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: feel

knocked back
refused; rejected

Example: I got knocked back for that job.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb knock back, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: knock back

found out
discovered

Example: I finally found out how to make this work.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb find out, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: find out