Derry man Sean McCauley is heading to the Homeless World Cup following his selection for the Northern Ireland squad.
The Strand Foyer and Derry Bytes footballer is the only person from the city to be selected for participation in the UEFA backed event in the first ever Northern Ireland homeless squad.
Sean was selected after being spotted by scouts while playing for his side in the NI Street League for homeless people.
He will line out for Northern Ireland alongside teams representing 64 countries in the 11th annual Homeless World Cup which will take place in Poznan, Poland from August 10 to 18.
Speaking the ‘Journal’ yesterday, Bill Campbell, Development Officer at Derry Bytes, which provides information technology learning to homeless people in the city, said the selection was a “tremendous achievement” for Sean.
“It’s amazing for Sean and terrific news for the Strand Foyer and Derry Bytes project. Because Sean is homeless and not in education, employment or training, he is excluded from taking part in so many things. Sean is the only person from Derry to be selected for the squad and we’re very proud of his achievement.”
A total of 48 countries will participate in the men’s competition and 16 in the women’s competition.
The Homeless World Cup appoints one partner organisation per country to coordinate all year-round football activities amongst homeless and marginalised people in 70 countries.
The competition has a strong track record in helping to change the lives of homeless people substantially as a result of being involved in the competition.
Players are selected to represent their country in the fast and furious street soccer format in which winning goals are often scored with just seconds to go. Chile is the holder of the men’s Homeless World Cup after their stunning victory last year.
There are currently two homeless leagues in Northern Ireland; the original league in Belfast which has been running for three years, and a new league in Derry which started in Autumn 2012. The leagues involve weekly football with up to 60 players.
Strand Foyer provides accommodation for homeless young people between 18 and 25 years while Derry Bytes provides learning through IT and a drop-in facility.