Kian is a Street Soccer player in Glasgow and has been since the age of 18. He now has the chance to represent his country during the Homeless World Cup in Sacramento and believes the level of support from his coaches and fellow players has allowed him to have a transformative few years.
About to turn 21, Kian is looking ahead to the experience and would consider himself a bit of a Homeless World Cup expert after relentlessly studying the tournament since being selected for Team Scotland.
“I’ve not missed a single session with the guys. I’m beyond excited and want to perform to the highest level I can. The way my mentality is, I want to win the whole thing and bring it back for everyone. I know everything about the tournament now after reading up on it!
I feel like I’m in a good place and I have got to grips with the Homeless World Cup rules and the tempo of the game. It’s now looking ahead to the event now and I’m sure they’ll be a lot of new experiences.”
A regular at sessions in Townhead, Glasgow, he underlines the significance Street Soccer sesisons have had in raising his confidence and building communications skills.
“I found out about Street Soccer Scotland through We are With You. I had knew about it briefly but that’s when I started playing regularly. It’s been a really important few years for me.
I underestimated what it might do for me. I knew everyone was mixed ability and they were maybe going through their own recovery of alcohol or substance misuse. My expectations were maybe a bit low and I didn’t think it might of challenged me but right away I could see the good it was doing.
The guys here are now all my friends, everyone keeps each other going. The environment in Glasgow makes the sessions rewarding and it can motivate you. It’s very inclusive.”
With exciting opportunities lying ahead, Kian pinpoints the level of support that the team in Glasgow have provided for him, particularly around preparations for the tournament.
“The coaches have helped me find that balance of channelling my frustrations and still being competitive. Morag in particular has been a fantastic help, especially in the lead up to going to America.
All the coaches are great, they’re always looking for new ways to support you. When the opportunity came up to represent Scotland, it was surreal. I was still a little bit stressed about sorting my passport but I’ve had unbelievable support, especially from Morag who was updating me every day and organising my interview etc. It kind of hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m going but its going to be unreal.”
Kian was announced as a Team Scotland player alongside his older brother Stephen and hopes that the two of them can use the experience as a foundation for positive change.
“The experience will be a bit easier having my brother Stephen in the squad. He’s seven years older and has always been a great support system for me. I really think this could be a foundation to push me on further in life.
It wasn’t for having Street Soccer, I’m not sure what I’d do. I didn’t have a structure and routine before playing, now it’s such a massive part of my life and it makes the rest of my life a lot easier.”
You can find out more about Team Scotland and their journey to the Homeless World Cup, online.