Today is the final day of competition in the 2017 Homeless World Cup. The past seven days have been filled with football and fellowship, as well as moments of growth for each of the players. For the final round of play, each team will have one more opportunity to take to the field and represent their country.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway kicked off the tournament last Tuesday at the Opening Ceremony. Since then, 54 countries consisting of over 500 players have competed on the three synthetic turf fields set up in Norway’s capital city. The tournament has already proved to be impactful in the lives of this year’s players. The sense of camaraderie and community that has fostered in this year’s players is unprecedented.
In the match for bronze in the men’s bracket, Greece and Australia rejected the traditional separate pregame rituals. Instead, the teams united together for a joined huddle.
England’s Marek Hyde has gone from a Heroin addict who sold his passport for a high to a full-time employee who is able to support himself. Hyde credits the sport of football with aiding in his recovery and rehabilitation into society.The 29-year-old from Ireland, James Nolan, has a renewed sense of self-worth. He plans to return home and focus on attaining a permanent, safe home that will allow him to see his kids more.
19-year-old Rupanti Kumari from India has said that the tournament has opened new doors for her after her father’s death due to illness and brother’s death due to a terrorist attack. Kumari grew up working on a farm in an area of India that is now dangerous. The HWC has given Rupanti the opportunity to pursue a career in coaching football to inspire other girls to play as well.
Be sure to watch the Homeless World Cup finals live on the tournament’s Facebook page.With over 100 million people living without adequate housing worldwide, this tournament hopes to both decrease this number and change the public’s perception towards homelessness. We’re proud to work with this organization by providing the artificial grass surfaces that each of these teams compete on. With the superior safety and engineering of our turf to reduce player injuries, we aim to keep these teams protected while they play.