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Last Updated: Friday, 22 July, 2005, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Atmosphere hots up at the HWC
A Polish fan shows her support
The Homeless World Cup kicked off in Edinburgh on 18 July - and you'll be able to catch all the latest action from the tournament right here.

Four graduates from the BBC Tackling Skills project will be reporting on all the games throughout the week-long tournament, which will see 32 countries and over 250 people taking part.

Here is a report on the atmosphere after four days of the event.

By Aaron Wall

The atmosphere was very quiet on the western front at the start of the tournament but it picked up when the four home nations started to play their group games, with Scotland having most of the support in their home country. The crowds have flocked in with the stands filling up and the crowd cheering on their favourite teams.

Even the Americans are getting into the spirit. When I spoke to an American tourist over here on holiday, she was supporting the American homeless team with her family and saying that the atmosphere was incredible with huge support for all the teams involved in the Homeless World Cup: "The experience has been excellent while I've been over here, the people have been so friendly while I've been here and I will definitely be coming back to Edinburgh because it's such a wonderful place."

Andrew, an Oz supporter, was here supporting his brother but he didn't know anything about the Homeless World Cup until his brother told him about it. He also said it's terrible and horrible to see so many people homeless and it needs to stop in every country. Andrew said it was a great venue in which to hold the HWC and the support was superb for every country. Andrew is supporting his brother and the "Socceroos" but he has also seen the other teams play and he likes what he sees. He's hoping his brother will make the Australian team in 2006 when the Homeless World Cup goes to South Africa.

I also spoke to one of few female players, Stephanie Johnson, a member of the USA team who said: "It's been a wonderful experience, it's great to see so many countries in one city." Over in the United States they have decided to pick a team from one state each year to play in the Homeless World Cup. The US team have never played football before - they started training two weeks before the tournament started!

The college where the US team is staying is beautiful, and they told me their hotel is superb. They'd love to come back again to visit if they were supported by the charities who have helped them with travel and expenses for this tournament.

I asked Stephanie what her were for next week after the Homeless World Cup is over: "Hopefully to try and get a job and to come off the streets."

The day overall has been an enjoyable experience for all the supporters and the press. With so much support for every country that has taken part in the Homeless World Cup, hopefully this will show the world that it's not just about sleeping rough on the street and on friends' floors. It's also about getting a whole community together to show that homeless people have more to offer than people expect of them.

Links to more Tackling Skills stories


Players gear up for Homeless World Cup
04 Jul 05 |  Tackling Skills

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