Wayne Ellaway admits that he had “almost given up on life” before the Homeless World Cup triggered a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes.
The Welshman was sofa surfing and suffering with substance abuse after being released from prison in 2013 – but things changed for the better after he learned about Street Football Wales while staying in Cardiff hostel Tŷ Gobaith Lifehouse.
Wayne went along to a training session that proved to be life changing. From there, he went to Amsterdam in 2015 as a player in an experience that he described as “unforgettable” and proved instrumental in restoring his self-esteem and confidence.
Since then, the 43-year-old has taken on a coaching role in subsequent tournaments, including achieving a life-long ambition to see to the Americas when the Homeless World Cup headed to Mexico City last year.
“Homeless World Cup is such an amazing experience,” said Street Football Wales head coach Wayne. “There’s food, music, fun, laughter. There’s representatives from the rest of the world who express themselves on the pitch and off the pitch. The flair on the pitch is phenomenal.”