Canada’s eight-player homeless soccer team said participating in the Homeless World Cup was a wake-up call.
The team returned from Rio de Janeiro yesterday, saying the trip was incredible, but also a shock.
Canada’s team, all from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, witnessed first-hand how homeless from some of the 47 competing countries receive no support from their governments, including in Brazil, said player Richard Mountain.
“Down there, if you want something, you have to work for it really hard,” he said.
The Canadians did their best to bridge the gap. Co-captain Patrick Oleman gave his last $18 to members of the Poland team.
“None of them had money and they all saw us going out for burgers,” he explained.
“We’re well-known for fair play and sportsmanship, and giving everybody respect,” said Kevin King, the team’s goalie and co-captain.
Canada even lent their shoes to the Italian team.
Despite its poverty, Brazil won in both men’s and women’s divisions.
The Canadian team also played against Brazilian street kids during their time off from the tournament.
“Holy smokes, these kids could move better than we could,” said King.