NI players leave for Homeless World Cup in Norway

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By Simon Hunter

A number of young people from Northern Ireland, who've experienced homelessness, are heading to Oslo to represent the country in the Homeless World Cup.

Run by Street Soccer NI, the project aims to transform their lives through the power of football.

They provide their players with support in housing, employability, and other areas where they need help.

Oslo is the host of this year's tournament, from August 29 to September 5.

This year is unique, as a women's team will be going from here for the first time.

Overall, 50 countries will be represented at the event, which has been running for 12 years.

Men’s Captain Conor Deane from Derry said,  "I was Homeless for 3 months. Street Soccer has helped me wise up and see things differently and not to give up when things are hard.

I’m over the moon been told I’m captaining the team in the world cup and I like that I have to set the standard as people are looking up to me.

I am now motivated to work instead of just lying about on the dole. When I return from the world cup I want to get into coaching because football is my

Of the 9 players involved in last year's edition, 6 now have their own home, 3 got into full time employment, and 2 players completed coaching badges with the IFA and became qualified referees.

East Belfast Mission, the IFA Foundation, the Housing Executive, Simon Community NI, Belfast City Council, North Belfast Housing Association, Belfast Community Sports Development Network, and USEL are supporting this year's teams.

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