Homeless World Cup: Coach's Report Day 1 by Alan Bates
The following Post is directly from Team Canada Coach Alan Bates
Hi Street Soccer fans,
This update is coming to you straight from the Alpha Hostel in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro (aka Team Canada Headquarters). My aim is to write daily updates about our Homeless World Cup experience.
If you don't want to get these emails, just let me know and I'll take you off the list.
Yesterday was a long and very memorable day for all of us. We all gathered at the LifeSkills Centre right across from Oppenheimer Park to a very warm send-off by volunteers and fans. In characteristic fashion, Kailin See, Sarah Blyth and lots of other PHS volunteers put together a great event including a hot breakfast, haircuts, and matching track suits and bags for the whole team. We were looking slick by the time we stepped on our bus.
Like a post-game Canucks dressing room, the room was filled with media from radio, TV, and newspapers interviewing players. Kurt Heinrich has done an amazing job with keeping our media contacts informed and has created a real buzz in the city about the team.
The highlight of the morning was co-team captain Patrick Oleman's uncle Tom performing a traditional Stlaltlium ceremony to send us on our way in the perfect mindset, telling our guys it's time to "stand and walk like men".
We were then followed to the airport by a CTV crew from the show First Story and were met there by another TV crew from CityTV. Fortunately, everything went smoothly at all the airports that we went through. It was a very long trip from Vancouver to Toronto, Toronto to Sao Paulo, and finally Sao Paulo to Rio. Imagine doing that on your first day of air travel ever, as was the case for a lot of our guys.
The ride from the airport to our hostel was a big eye-opener for all of us. The scenes included sprawling Favelas of makeshift housing along the highways and young men dodging cars in the middle of very chaotic traffic trying to sell popcorn to motorists. It wasn't lost on the guys that the popcorn sellers probably don't get a cheque on the third Wednesday of every month.
We had a good team dinner at a burger joint around the corner from our hostel and everyone was ready to crash after that.
It's now the morning after we arrived, and today has already provided lots of fun. We've been joined by Vancouver volunteers Daniel Errey, Sarah Blyth, and Kailin See. Wendy Perkins from Toronto is also in Rio now and we're looking forward to getting our fresh new unis from her later today.
Team Korea is also staying in our hostel and the highlight of the morning has been an exhibition game with them at an urban graffiti-encircled soccer court nearby. I was impressed with our skill and sportsmanship in a friendly 3-0 win.
As I type, the guys are out playing again with the local kids in the alley/street outside the hostel. They're learning a lot of sweet moves.
To see pictures of the send-off, check out:
Please feel free to forward these updates to anyone.
Thanks for your support,