"MORE THAN JUST A GAME"

 For a recent University module we had to put together a portfolio of articles, one of the articles I wrote was on Liverpool Homeless Football Club. I wanted to share the article because I think the work being done at the club is incredible, thanks to Lisa Thomas for providing me with an interview for the article and the stats! There are some links at the bottom to follow for more information on LHFC.

 Liverpool Ladies midfielder Fara Williams is a patron for Liverpool Homeless FA and coaches the women’s side.


 Amongst the thousands of football clubs in England, competing in various league and cup competitions, there is one striving to make a difference on the lives of its players. Liverpool Homeless Football Club was founded in 2007 and operates a league made up of 18 teams, with players from different hostels and accommodations around Liverpool.

 Initially the club was launched with just 6 teams and was male-only, in recent years this has expanded now to cover the ever-growing women’s game in the country. Lisa Thomas has been a volunteer for the women’s team since November 2012 and her duties for the club consist of arranging games, attending training and matches, managing the social media aspects and maintaining communication between staff and players to name just a few. Recently a game was organised with Merseyside Police, designed to build positive relationships between the two.

 For its players Liverpool Homeless F.C. has the opportunity to change their lives, as Lisa says “there is an infamous quote used by the club – that it is ‘more than just a game’”. This is what sets Liverpool Homeless F.C. apart from other clubs; Lisa adds that as well as forming great friendships with each other and allowing the players to get out of their hostels and accommodation, “the club also support players trying to gain a career out of sport by putting them on the ladder when it comes to coaching badges.”

 Another opportunity available to players is the chance to participate in the Homeless World Cup, a tournament featuring homeless teams from 16 nations. Lisa explains that “anyone who has experienced homelessness within the past two years can attend trials at Manchester United”, here the players are “put through various training sessions and workshops” for the chance to be selected to represent England. Along with Liverpool Homeless F.C. there is a homeless football project in Middlesborough which also provides players.


 The coach of Liverpool Homeless Football Club’s women’s team is Fara Williams. Fara Williams is a full-time professional footballer for Liverpool Ladies and, at the time of writing, has been capped 123 times for England as well as being chosen to represent Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics.

 Lisa Thomas works alongside Fara and says of her involvement that “the right balance is requiredand that is something that Fara definitely offers… the girls benefit from the training drills and sessions provided but most importantly they enjoy attending training where they know they can play with a smile on their face.” Providing the right atmosphere and coach is crucial to the success of the club and there is no better person for this role than Fara Williams, inspirational to the players given how she turned her life around to succeed and use her success to inspire others.

 Players from Liverpool Homeless F.C. have gone on to play football outside of the club, including “two players now signed up by AFC Liverpool Ladies and play football on a weekly basis outside of Liverpool Homeless F.C.” Again displaying the openings that become available, this is where the main emphasis of the club lies and Lisa is keen to stress that “the football is competitive but has a stronger emphasis on inclusion and encouraging fair play, respect and team work.” Allowing the players to build upon their experiences and open new doors for them.

 Through researching the club, the optimism that it breeds is evident. The opportunities it gives those involved to turn their lives around is perhaps unrivalled, whether through the aforementioned coaching badges, help with players health and accommodation or simply to get them off the streets and playing a sport that they love. To the players of Liverpool Homeless Football Club the sport is more than just a game, it’s their lives.

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