Goal Click
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Northern Ireland

The photos from Northern Ireland Men’s and Women’s teams were Stacey Hepburn and Sofia Salum. Stacey coordinates the Northern Ireland Women’s Street Soccer team. Sofia , from Mexico, was a volunteer at the Homeless World Cup and a football players all her life (she was usually the only girl on her team). 

Northern Ireland

The photos from Northern Ireland Men’s and Women’s teams were Stacey Hepburn and Sofia Salum. Stacey coordinates the Northern Ireland Women’s Street Soccer team. Sofia , from Mexico, was a volunteer at the Homeless World Cup and a football players all her life (she was usually the only girl on her team). 

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Stacey Hepburn

Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?

The photos taken were in Mexico at the 2018 Homeless World Cup.  Photographed are our Women’s team. I took photos of the girls warming up before matches, mixing with other teams and having team talks.

What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?

One photo is of a team talk before the match.  It’s important that we get our minds ready for a match but to also let our players know that whatever happens, whether we win or lose, that we go to a match as a team and we leave as a team.  Team unity is important. Our girls are also photographed with another team.  For some of our girls, they have never been outside of Northern Ireland, so it’s great to see them mixing with people from other countries.

Are there any good stories connected with the people or teams you photographed?

Being able to leave Northern Ireland and go to Mexico to play for their country is a great achievement for anyone.  Since returning many of our girls have completed their coaching badges and hope to coach other teams.  Others have started coaching football to young people.  Some have gone into full time employment and some have got their own houses, which is great to see.

What is your role with the team?

I check in with the girls regularly to see if there is any support they need.  I meet up with them for coffee to check in and see how they are doing, I organise matches and make sure everyone gets to and from training.  We have two coaches who take our weekly sessions. I don’t have any background in football, but since my involvement with the Street Soccer Women’s team it is amazing to see how football can help so many people when it comes to mental health and addictions, as it gives players something to focus on and work towards.  

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How was your experience of the Homeless World Cup in Mexico?

The Homeless World Cup in Mexico was an amazing experience. It is so great meeting people from different countries.  The Homeless World Cup is a great experience in itself for people who have had different issues and problems in their lives - to be given this amazing opportunity to play football for their country and to show that whatever problems they have faced that they are continuing to move forward despite their circumstances. 

What are the opportunities for female footballers in Northern Ireland?

Opportunities for female footballers are on the increase. Football used to be viewed as very much a man’s sport. However, this stereotype is changing and we see more and more money being put into women’s football participation. 

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Sofia Salum

Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?

The photos were taken in the centre of Mexico City in El Zócalo, where the Homeless World Cup was happening. There were several stadiums and courts for the players. I was with the team of Northern Ireland,so the photos are of the players, some of the female team and some of the male team. 

What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?

For most of the players it was the first time they visited Mexico, so I tried to capture the wonder of visiting a new place and seeing new people. Other photos intended to reflect teamwork and sportsmanship and how a sport can unite people from different cultures and places. People worked so hard to make this event happen but there were moments that were indescribable; you could feel positive vibes and happiness amongst the people.

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What is your favourite photo?

One of the girls is with a man with a penacho (headdress); I took that during the parade on the first day. That day everyone was very excited and hyped to start. Once all these people in costumes started showing up I saw the team look at them with wonder, everyone started singing and taking pictures. No matter who you were or where you were from, you could feel like a part of it. 

During practice the teammates were passing the ball and it was flying through the air. They were also very excited to start and they were having a lot of fun. 

Are there any good stories connected with the people or teams you photographed?

I knew most of the players had some very interesting stories but I was more curious about what happened afterwards - how the Homeless World Cup helped them and seeing them doing well all thanks to this, to sport, to their team, and their own personal progress and will.

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