Street Soccer Canada has named Heath Young of Maple Pool United to the national men’s team that will compete at the Homeless World Cup Aug. 10 to 18 in Poznań, Poland.
His selection follows the Western Canadian qualifier, which United hosted two weekends ago at Lewis Park in Courtenay. The home side placed fourth out of 10 teams.
“Heath has used his participation in soccer with Maple Pool United as a path towards empowerment and recovery,” said team coach/co-ordinator Grant Shilling, an outreach worker at the Dawn to Dawn: Action on Homelessness Society.
Shilling started a street soccer program in the Comox Valley last year. Operating out of the Maple Pool Campsite, the program provides an opportunity for homeless and marginalized individuals to compete in a fun environment.
Unlike 11-aside soccer, street soccer involves four-person teams that play on a field about 22 metres long with hockey-size nets.
“The regular discipline used for soccer is one he now applies to other aspects of his life,” Shilling said. “Heath’s upcoming trip to Poland is a team victory as it took all of us working as one to make it possible for Heath to represent both Maple Pool United and the Comox Valley. We as a team are most gratified by his accomplishments.”
Young, 35, discovered the program when he met Shilling “through housing complications,” he said in a previous interview.
A Dawn to Dawn client who has lived at Maple Pool for several months, Young had played soccer while growing up in Abbotsford and as a teen in Nanaimo. Injuries and addiction temporarily sent him to the sidelines, but recently he underwent treatment at the Comox Valley Recovery Centre.
Young is the second member of MPU chosen to represent Canada at the Homeless World Cup. Last year, Joan Mathias was part of the women’s national team that competed at the annual tournament in Mexico City.
Anyone wishing to help fund Young’s trip to Poland can make out cheques to Dawn to Dawn, or contact Shilling at 250- 218-3136. The address is: Dawn to Dawn, 6C-821 Shamrock Pl., Comox, B.C. V9M 4G4.
The website is dawntodawn.org.