Banbury man Wayne Burrows made his England debut last month, representing his country at the International Street Football Festival in Manchester.
The Festival, which saw five teams from across the globe line up in the city centre is an international football tournament with a difference – every player has experienced homelessness.
The Homeless FA’s inaugural International Street Football Festival took place after a week of training and activity that saw competitors tour some of England’s footballing landmarks and mix with people from different cultures.
The tournament followed September’s Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam, and men and women’s champions Mexico joined hosts and quarter-finalists Holland on the four-a-side street soccer pitch in Manchester.
Wayne, aged 27, experienced homelessness after his relationship with his girlfriend broke down and he was forced to leave their home.
He said: “I’ve met a lot of inspirational people through the Homeless FA. They’ve encouraged me so much to use my personality to help others.”
The festival was hosted by Homeless FA, England’s national homeless football association, which uses football to transform the lives of people experiencing homelessness.
After completing the programme, Wayne is now in full time work and living independently.
Head of the Homeless FA, Gareth Parker, said: “This year’s Team England squad is an incredibly inspiring group of people who have overcome, and in some cases are still overcoming, huge challenges in their lives.”
“The standard of football on offer from the visitors was very high but it is what happens off the pitch which we want each player to take home with them.”