Supporters and members of Team Canada’s homeless soccer team attended a fundraiser at Doolin’s Pub in downtown Vancouver to get players to Rio de Janeiro.
“We are so stoked to have this opportunity,” said Kevin King, the team’s co-captain.
All team members have been homeless at some point during the past year. Some spent time in Vancouver’s emergency shelters and now have found affordable housing.
The Canadian players come from two Downtown Eastside teams, the Eastside Sun Eagles and Portland FC. Six of the eight players are First Nations.
“It’s our determination that got us here,” added co-captain Patrick Oleman.
The team practises several times a week. After the Cup, the team co-captains said they plan to pass on their newfound skills.
“I’m going to be a coach for a youth soccer team,” said Oleman.
“We finally get the chance to give back to the community from which we’ve taken so much,” King added.
The four-a-side tournament runs Sept. 18 to 26.