September 15 2014, updated 8:58pm

Recruiting for homeless world soccer team begins

Last updated 19:19 02/04/2008

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The homeless are being offered a trip to Australia, the catch is they'll probably need some soccer skills.

Wellington's Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) is recruiting players for the Street Football Aotearoa team to compete at the annual Homeless Football World Cup in Melbourne in December.

Players must have experienced homelessness or currently be homeless to qualify.

The Homeless World Cup was first held in Austria in 2003 with 18 nations competing.

Last year the 5th tournament was held in Copenhagen where 48 nations competed for the title of world champion.

DCM spokeswoman Stephanie McIntyre said players from previous tournaments had reported they were better off after taking part in the event.

Following the 2005 tournament in Edinburgh, Scotland 77 percent of players reported improvement in their lives through employment, housing, education and drug and alcohol counselling, she said.

The event's organisers said feelings of belonging, challenge, of working in a team, regaining a health oriented attitude towards life, self esteem and a fun experience was a powerful combination to change a person's life.

- NZPA

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