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Canada at 2010 Homeless World Cup

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The Canadian Men's National Street Soccer Team is having a fundraiser in Vancouver this Wednesday evening. It was originally meant to raise money to send the Canadian players to the 2010 Homeless World Cup (19-26 September in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), but apparently the money has already been raised. So, all funds raised on Wednesday will go to next year's efforts.

The Homeless World Cup is all about beating homelessness through football. Over 70% of players who participate in the Homeless World Cup significantly change their lives.

Street soccer has grown explosively here in Vancouver. There was just one club back in 2008, whereas now there is a Vancouver league comprised of six clubs. A woman's team is currently being established, and may participate in the Vancouver league next year.

Here are the event details:

Wednesday 1 September 2010, 6:30-10:30pm

Doolin's Irish Pub (654 Nelson Street @ Granville, Vancouver)

Tickets: $15 at the door (includes a burger and a beer).

The event will feature live entertainment, special guests and a silent auction.

Facebook event page #1

Facebook event page #2

See you there!


P.S. Canadian musician/author Dave Bidini (Baseballissimo, The Best Game You Can Name, etc.) has written a book called Home and Away: In Search of Dreams at the Homeless World Cup of Soccer. It's available now from Amazon, and in bookstores in a couple of weeks.

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Great post. Although I don't live in Vancouver I think this is a great cause and a great idea. I've been a fan of Dave Bidini the musician since the Rheostatics and a fan of Dave Bidini the author since Tropic of Hockey. If anyone out there hasn't seen the CBC special Hockey Nomad it's definitely worth a view. I was unaware of the upcoming book and I will now definitely pick that up. Thanks very much B & W Army!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Canada's fixtures have been announced. All times are local, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Time.

v Ireland, Mon 20 Sept 09:40 (Pitch Two)

v Romania, Mon 20 Sept 15:40 (Pitch One)

v Cambodia, Tue 21 Sept 11:00 (Pitch One)

v Mexico, Tue 21 Sept 13:20 (Pitch Two)

And here's an article about the team:

Finding a home on the soccer field

After turning their lives around with an assist from the sport, Vancouver team jets off on trip of a lifetime

The Vancouver Sun

by Yvonne Zacharias

September 16, 2010


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More goodies:


Team Canada's Send Off to Brazil from Vancouver Downtown Eastside



Homeless World Cup: Coach's Report Day 1 by Alan Bates

The Vancouver Observer


Photo gallery: Day 3 of Canada at the 2010 Homeless World Cup


http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=150351&id=578900209 (scroll to bottom)


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Coach's diary from day 3 (Sat 18 Sept):


Canada had the day off today (Sun 19 Sept), but all four other teams in Group G had matches:

Ireland 15-0 Romania

Mexico 14-0 Cambodia

Canada's matches tomorrow (Mon 20 Sept) are against Ireland at 8:40am ET / 5:40am PT, and Romania at 2:40pm ET / 11:40am PT.

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Photo gallery of parade and opening ceremonies (Sun 19 Sept), by Canada coach Alan Bates:



Photo gallery of Canada's first day of matches (Mon 20 Sept):



Update from Alan Bates, coach of Canada's national homeless team, on Day 4 (Sun 19 Sept):

Hi Street Soccer fans,

Sorry the Day 4 update is a day late. The internet wasn't working at our hostel last night and I was exhausted.

The Homeless World Cup festivities got into full swing on Day 4 with the parade and opening ceremonies. We had a great time during the parade right down the boardwalk along Avenue Atlantica in Copacabana. We were lead by a children's Brazilian drum group and that lead to lots of dancing, including Co-Captain Patrick Oleman busting out some traditional First Nations dancing. We also brought out the national anthem and the First Nations warrior chant that has become one of our trademarks.

At the end of the parade, everyone filed into the competition venue for the opening ceremonies. Co-captains Kevin King and Patrick Oleman both got turns waving the Canadian flag as part of the ceremony. Unfortunately, the ceremony was a bit of a bust because the sound system wouldn't work which meant that nobody could hear either Mel Young (the President of the Homeless World Cup) or another guy who I think was the Mayor of Rio. I guess I'll never know, but I was impressed with his support for the tournament anyways.

Games got under way pretty soon after the opening ceremony. It was hard for all of us to watch games and not play. We learned a lot watching the other teams though. Fortunately/unfortunately, we learned a lot from Ireland and Mexico (both in our group) who dished out the biggest smack-downs of the day with twin 14-0 wins (vs. Romania and Cambodia respectively). The best teams have amazing skill and also have really effective systems for defending.

Even though we didn't play on Day 4, we built on our fan-base significantly by cheering for other teams and putting on a formidable display of good cheer. Our favourite teams have included Korea, Poland, Cambodia, and the Phillipines. We're the official cheering section for these and several other teams. Usually Canadian soccer fans are so reserved compared to in other places, but not here. We're so loud that other countries try to recruit us to cheer for them before games.

We continued the jockstrap expedition for a brief time. I brought back-up and mostly got Sarah Blyth and Kailin See to make fools of themselves trying to ask for one. We didn't find one despite going to many sporting goods store. Brazilians must have balls of steel and little experience with ice hockey. Anyways, our goalie decided he didn't need one in the end.

I went to my first coach's meeting in the evening. It's basically where all the countries' coaches and managers can complain about things. Some of the coaches are pretty intense about rule interpretations.

Ok, time for me to update you on Day 5.

Thanks for your support,


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Update from Alan Bates, coach of Canada's national homeless team, on Day 5 (Mon 20 Sept):

Hi Street Soccer fans,

It's way past my bedtime, so this might be a bit of a short update (editors note: it isn't). I sleep on the top of a very wobbly triple bunk bed in the players' room, so going to bed is always a bit of an adventure. Our room is a bit of an adventure packed into a very small space. You know how Ikea can make any space look nice? We sort of do the opposite.

Today was obviously very exciting because we had our first two games. After getting ready in the morning, we made our way to the venue and onto the practice pitch to get warmed up. We had a good warm-up, but the Irish looked like they really knew what they were doing. It turned out that was more than a hunch. In a result that should surely put my job on the line, we got our butts kicked 15-1 by Ireland. The HWC website says 17-1, but that's just not true and it does make a difference. The highlight of the game was when Jeremy Isaac introduced the ball to the top corner of the Irish net off a well placed corner by Peter Chow to make it 1-1. It was almost as if we practiced it (cough - we did - cough). The TSN turning point came when Ireland went ahead 2-1, about 3 minutes into the game. Before the game, I told the guys I just wanted to feel like we left it all on the field. That's exactly what I felt. We learned a lot, but all the strategy in the world wasn't going to win that game for us.

Our guys are so positive that you would have thought we won our first game 15-1. Everyone saw it as a learning experience and was honoured to have played with such a good team. We had a lot of fun between games. We got to watch a lot of great soccer. I'm calling Kenya and Mexico in the final. You heard it here first. I haven't seen many of the women's teams, but the guys like Norway and the Netherlands. But it might not be just soccer skill that they "like" about them, gnome sayin, so they might not be the teams to put your savings down on.

What we lack in scoring finesse, we make up for in cheering dominance. I think we deserve half the credit for Poland's win over England today for our unending "Polska! Polska! Polska!" cheer throughout the game. I've got to admit that as someone with English roots who also lived in Nottingham for three years, it felt wrong inside to cheer against the three lions. The English keeper didn't like our choice of alliance either and let us know about it after the game (in a very friendly way). I'll have to teach the guys some British football chants and make it up to England another day.

Aside from our cheering, we've become well-loved in other ways as well. Yesterday, one of our guys came up to me to tell me that we were giving our shoes to Italy. "What!!?" was my immediate response. Turned out they ran out of free shoes and Italy didn't bring as many as they needed. Some of their guys were looking at starting their game in flip-flops. Now, maybe this makes me a bad person, but I've got to say that even after the situation was explained to me a bit, I really didn't like the idea of us giving away our shoes. We've done all this planning, come all this way, tried to make everything right, and the day before we play we're going to give away our shoes!? To Italy!? Don't they make shoes? But, of course, the guys were right. It was absolutely the right thing to do. The Italians only wanted to borrow the shoes. So, our shoes beat Croatia 8-6 and we got them back. Until today that is, when we lent them to Italy again between our games. I'm not sure what their result was, but if they won that means our shoes are a respectable 2 and 2 after today.

It's our player Robert Milton's birthday today and he requested ice cream, so we shared a couple of small tubs of it with lunch. Right after that, we went for a bit of a dip in the waves and some sandcastle building. The ridiculousness included backflips, and Baywatch-style David Hassellhoff impressions.

Having watched Romania on the first day of games, I thought they were going to be tough but that we might be able to take them. They only had four guys on the first day, so I thought maybe we would tire them out with our full team. However, there's a little known rule at the HWC that if a team is short of players, they can request to use local "inexperienced" players from the host country. That would be fine if this was India or even Sweden or something. Try finding an "inexperienced" soccer player in Rio. So, we played most of the second-half against two Brazilians and one Romanian (the games are four-aside, three and a goalie). The end result was an 8-2 loss, but you've got to believe me that we learned from our Ireland experience and actually played really great defense. You have to keep one player over half all the time, so you're always defending with two against three. It's a high-scoring game. We also had two great goals. Jeremy Isaac is now a goal-a-game man with his second of the tournament and Robert Milton celebrated his birthday by suavely sliding it past the Romanian keeper on a penalty.

The evening has had its share of interpersonal conflicts, so that's been a bit rough on the players and the volunteers trying to patch everything together. The best medicine would be a win against Cambodia in the morning.

Thanks for your support,


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Here's the match report for the 11-2 loss to Mexico:



For the second round, Canada is once again in Group G. Their opponents are New Zealand, Hungary, Switzerland, and Finland.

Fixtures for Wed. 22 Sept.:

Canada v New Zealand at 10:00am ET / 7:00am PT

Canada v Hungary at 1:40pm ET / 10:40am PT

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