Maple Pool United placed fourth overall at the Canada Street Soccer Cup, held May 28-31 in North Vancouver.
“In round robin we finished second out of eight, which is totally awesome,” said Grant Shilling of the Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society, who organized and coaches the team. “We lost our two close playoff games.
“What I was really pleased with was the solidarity of the team and the diversity of the team,” Shilling said. “We had players from the ages of 15 to 52. We had Nigerian exchange students with us, we had people who are either sleeping outside or still in a shelter. It was a very diverse team that came together for a terrific outcome. As a coach and outreach worker I couldn’t be more pleased,” he said of the nine-player Maple Pool squad.
Kurt Heinrich, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Street Soccer League that hosted the event, said there were seven teams competing, with Victoria, Kelowna, North Shore, Woodwards (DTES), Covenant House and the VSSL joining Maple Pool.
Local organizers and Street Soccer Canada used this tournament as an opportunity to scout players for selection to the 2014 Canadian Street Soccer National Team which will participate at the 2014 Homeless World Cup in Chile from Oct. 19-26.
Maple Pool United has had players chosen to compete in two previous Homeless World Cups.
“We are expecting to hear shortly an announcement about a player from Maple Pool being selected to the Canadian national team,” Shilling said.
He said he has “a good feeling” about the player he recommended for the national team and expects to hear back from organizers in the next couple of weeks.
The 12th annual Homeless World Cup tournament will see 64 nations and over 500 players travel to South America to show the world how a ball has helped change their lives. This will include players representing reigning champions Brazil (men’s) and Mexico (women’s).
The eight-day tournament will be held in Plaza de Armas in central Santiago, and over 100,000 spectators are expected to watch the action unfold.