An 18-year-old from Northampton, has been selected to represent England at the Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam.
Lauren McDonald was chosen from hundreds of people who have experienced homelessness or social exclusion after completeting the Homeless FA’s Training Centre programme at Aston Villa Football Club.
Lauren, who has been living in her own supported accomodation for the past year, said: “I didn’t think it was real when I got the call to play for Team England. I was really chuffed.
“It’s a really inspirational opportunity for people in my position. I’d recommend it to anyone.
“It’s brought me out of my shell a little bit; I was the least confident person ever and now I feel much more confident and I think it’s something I’ll be able to build on in the future too.”
Homeless FA Patron and England World Cup star Fara Williams will join the England team to give support and advice to them having experienced homelessness at the start of her career too.
Harry Redknapp, Ambassador for BT Sport and FA Cup winning manager also visited the team during preparation for the tournament with additional advice and encouragement.
The World Cup, which has been running all week, is organised by the Homeless FA who use football to change the lives of people who have experienced homelessness. Players are picked due to their attitude, teamwork, and committment rather than their ability.
Gareth Parker, Head of the Homeless FA said: “This year’s Team England squad is an incredibly inspiring group of people who have overcome, and in some cases are still overcoming, huge challenges in their lives.
“We are not in Amsterdam to win the Homeless World Cup because our players are here for something much more important than football.
“This group of players has been selected not because of their ability on the pitch, but because they have demonstrated commitment and a positive attitude, whilst improving their physical health and confidence.
“They have already achieved so much, and I can’t wait to see them progress and realise their incredible potential.”
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