homeless world cup

The three languages we all must learn at the Homeless World Cup

At the Homeless World Cup, people of all colors, shapes, and sizes converge under different flags that represent different languages, political systems, ideologies, and religions. There are teams from 48 countries in six continents, some belonging to global superpowers whose flags have instant recall and recognition, others to little-known states that are still seeking recognition. Read more

Homeless World Cup Team Philippines now with 3 wins; founder writes letter of gratitude

As of press time, Homeless World Cup Team Philippines has already scored three wins: the first, against Ghana (3-2); the next, a stunning upset against the United States (4-3); and, this just in, another upset over a strong team, Switzerland (8-2). According to one administrator of the Kaholeros Official Facebook page, “The win gives the team 9 points with 4 games played and places them in 2nd place after Netherlands.”

Just shortly before the win over Switzerland was announced, we received this letter from Bill Shaw, founder of Urban Opportunities for Change, which started Jeepney Magazine and Homeless World Cup in the Philippines. We are reprinting this letter with his permission.

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A foreigner holds up the Philippine flag for Team Philippines during the Homeless World Cup, held at Champs de Mars, Paris, France | Photo by Ramon Hikboy Lecomberie
A foreigner holds up the Philippine flag for Team Philippines during the Homeless World Cup, held at Champs de Mars, Paris, France | Photo by Ramon Hikboy Lecomberie

Dear Friends,

This is a wonderful report from Paris, where the Homeless World Cup is in full swing. As are most of you, I am watching the games from a distance. Urban is represented by our board menbers Baste and Amor Quiniores, and staff member Cecill Artates.

Bill Shaw

 

Our Gracious Donors,

Day 3 was fantastic! The TV crews here from GMA 7 and ABS CBN and the overwhelming support we are getting from the Filipino community is so uplifting. Everyone knows when the Philippine team is playing by the roar of the Pinoys!

God granted us two wins: Ghana (3-2) and USA (4-3)! More than that though the Filipino community was touched by the stories of hardships of the boys and are pledging support. Our meals are sponsored by different groups: Hiligaynon (Illongos), Batanguenos, Mindorenos and even Dan Palami, the manager of Team Azkals is in town to give support. The team starts all things with prayers, their games, our meals, their briefings…. God is great!

We have games today, Suisse and Nederlands, both very strong teams. Another win and we advance to the higher levels.

Our voices are hoarse, our feet are aching but we have good food, great company with the Filipinos and everyone else and absolutely great pride on being able represent our country! Please also note that none of our players has been given a blue card (suspension). France got 2 in one game and thus immediately lost the match!

Savor this shot of a goal by the team!

HWC Team Philippines scores a goal! (Photo courtesy of Urban Opportunities for Change Foundation/Homeless World Cup Team Philippines)
HWC Team Philippines scores a goal! (Photo courtesy of Urban Opportunities for Change Foundation/Homeless World Cup Team Philippines)

Urban Board in Paris

Isn't it time for football, Philippines?

On December 5, 2010 – The news of the evening was Team Philippines’ “stunning”, “historic” victory over Suzuki Cup defending champion Vietnam.

According to Inquirer.net, “The Philippines pulled off the most stunning win in the history of the AFF Suzuki Cup with a 2-0 blanking of defending champion Vietnam Sunday night before a boisterous crowd of close to 40,000 at the My Ding Stadium here.”

ABSCBNnews.com, on the other hand, described the upset as due to “deadly finishing and no-nonsense defending.”

The victory “shocked”, “silenced”, and “humbled” host country Vietnam and clearly put the Philippines on the football map, as sports anchors exclaimed, “The Philippines makes history!”, while announcing the results of the game.

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Team Philippines celebrates with other teams in the 2009 Milan Homeless World Cup
Team Philippines celebrates with other teams in the 2009 Milan Homeless World Cup, where the author and her husband were volunteers | Photo by Nina Terol-Zialcita

But this isn’t the first time for the Philippines to make a remarkable showing on the football pitch. In September this year, Team Philippines of the Homeless World Cup posted its best performance in three years as it took home the Host Cup in the 2010 Homeless World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. True to its name, players of this particular brand of football are homeless youth from different parts of the Philippines.

In March 2010, another group of streetchildren from Manila beat the team from Brazil, home of single-name football legends Pele and Kaka, in the Street Child World Cup in Durban, South Africa.

The victories of all of these teams–professional and amateur alike–showed that the Philippines is ready for football, a sport which has no height requirement and which can maximize the Filipino’s inherent speed, dexterity, nimbleness, and flexibility.

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Then, just this weekend, acclaimed filmmaker Jim Libiran (Tribu) also announced the completion of his independent film Happyland, a narrative about petty-thieving, rugby-sniffing streetchildren in Tondo whose lives were transformed by street soccer. The film was developed together with a street soccer program called “Futkal” or “Futbol sa Kalye”, where real-life Tondo youth were taught football and then used as actors in the film. The movie also used the crowdfunding model, raising funds not only from large corporate sponsors but also from individuals, to spread the good news that football can bring.

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Three historic football wins plus one equally trailblazing movie in the same year when World Cup fever hit the Philippines. Could this be a sign that the Philippines will now be joining the rest of the world in playing what is perhaps the most loved, the most passion-inducing, and–on many fronts–the best game on the planet?

And, considering our poor global record in Pinoys’ most beloved game (basketball, what else?) and the fact that we always have to import Filipino-Americans to keep the game alive and interesting in the Philippines, isn’t it about time that we finally switched to a game that was made just for people like us?

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