Despite sporting a thick Dublin accent, Street Soccer player Paddy is looking forward to representing Team Scotland with pride at the Homeless World Cup in Sacramento.
Since joining sessions in Edinburgh in 2019, Paddy has been a key volunteer for the team and has done a fantastic job in supporting young players and adults through weekly sessions. He’s now preparing for one of the biggest opportunities to date.
“I like helping the team with things like refereeing as well as providing support and guidance to those who need it. Football gives people the chance to take their minds off things at home, and I can lend an ear to those who might not be having the best day.
I love volunteering as it really supports my own mental health. All of this has came together quite quickly but I’m absolutely buzzing – opportunities like this don’t come up very often. It’s the kind of thing you dream of as a child – being able to represent your country in a World Cup!”
Now an adopted Scot, Paddy is looking forward to sharing the experience with the team, who he believes are in a great place to make an impact in Sacramento.
“I’m the oldest player but sometimes I don’t feel like it! We have players who are as young at 19, but we get on so well. It’s a great opportunity and I’m going to make sure we all make the most of it.”
Paddy got to don the Team Scotland shirt for the first time during the squad reveal at Hampden and reflected on a busy few years as part of sessions in Edinburgh.
“What I love about Street Soccer is that people of all ages and levels can play, everyone’s included and we have a great community and supportive environment. Being a volunteer means a lot to me and I love making new people to feel welcome. Even when you simply remember their name, it helps to give them confidence and comfort.
Street Soccer isn’t just about playing football and that’s why a lot of people stick around. I joined just before COVID and all the support during that time was just unbelievable. Zoom calls, food parcels, it really made you feel part of a community.”
With a trip to the States now just days away, Paddy will be using his experience both on and off the pitch to ensure Scotland have a memorable tournament.