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As the Lionesses played in the World Cup Final, this tournament showed how women’s football tackles homelessness

The all-female Street Soccer Nations Cup brought together women experiencing homelessness from across eight nations as the spotlight turned t women’s football across the globe.

Although the Lionesses narrowly missed out in the Women’s World Cup Final last weekend, one thing is for sure: it’s been a great summer for football gender parity.

While events in Australia captivated football fans across England, the Street Soccer Nations Cup tournament in Largs, North Ayrshire, brought together women’s teams from across Europe to create a strong community of female football players experiencing homelessness.

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Held at Largs Thistle FC, Street Soccer Scotland’s regional tournament hosted over 70 female players experiencing homelessness who competed on the pitch over three days.

The Street Soccer Nations Cup tournament in Largs, North Ayrshire, brought together players from across Europe. Credit: Edinburgh Photographic.

Just like Down Under, Team England didn’t come out on top. Instead it was Romania and Scotland that got their hands on the silverware ahead of teams from Sweden, Northern Ireland and England.

Scotland and Romania came out on top at The Street Soccer Nations Cup tournament. Credit: Edinburgh Photographic.

“Players, staff and volunteers spoke of the powerful community that backed one another at every opportunity this past weekend,” said a Street Soccer Scotland spokesperson. “All eight teams played with immense spirit and portrayed the beautiful game in its purest form – no judgement, no fear and unconditional support.”

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The tournament comes a month after the Homeless World Cup returned street soccer to the global stage following a four-year break due to Covid-19.

The cup has fostered a “powerful community”. Credit: Edinburgh Photographic

Both tournaments use football as a means of empowering those facing social exclusion. The Homeless World Cup has a rich 20-year history, as well as fervent celebrity endorsements from voices like Michael Sheen, and has proved to be an enduring force of good for homeless populations across 72 countries.

Speaking to the Big Issue ahead of the Homeless World Cup, Street Soccer Scotland founder David Duke said tournaments like the Homeless World Cup and Street Soccer Nations Cup show how football can be used as a vehicle for change.

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Duke said: “All the projects going there, whether they be in Brazil, Mexico or Scotland, we’re all using football as a way to reconnect people to services and support and be part of the community.”

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