A football team have won the league with the help of two talented players who’ve returned from the Homeless World Cup in South America.
Leon Knight, 21, and Yasmin Mills, 18, both play for Cartrefi Colts in the Street Football Wales League and were selected to represent Wales at the Homeless World Cup in Chilean capital of Santiago.
Both played a major part in helping Cartrefi Colts clinch the North Wales Street Football Wales title in the new team’s very first year of competing.
The side is made up of players from two housing estates opera – Chester Avenue in Kinmel Bay and Parc Peulwys in Llysfaen – managed by housing association Cartrefi Conwy.
Vicky Welsman, Cartrefi Conwy’s Chester Avenue Community House Development Manager put the side together and is delighted with their success.
She said: “It’s been a fantastic experience and to win the North Wales title in our first season is amazing. And to have Leon and Yasmin selected to represent Wales at the Homeless World Cup in Chile was the icing on the cake.
“The North Wales Street Football League is made up of players aged over 16 and facing social exclusion through homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill health or cultural issues.
“What we are trying to do is motivate and encourage vulnerable young people to make positive changes to their lives.
“It’s been really positive as there are 10 teams in the league and we meet up and play games on a round robin basis one day a month. It’s been great as players from all the teams make new friends and share experiences.”
According to Yasmin Mills, going to Chile and representing Wales was a real honour and she was determined to do well in memory of her dad who passed away just before the tournament was to get underway.
She said: “We were looked after so well. I was determined to go because my dad would have wanted me to go and was so proud I’d been selected. I was flown home two days ahead of the rest of the squad so I didn’t miss dad’s funeral.
“It was obviously difficult but an amazing experience going to Chile and everyone was so kind and helpful from the hotel staff to the organisers.
“The football was tough and incredibly fast. We played England, Mexico, USA, Hungary, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Holland and finished 8th out of 12 teams.”
Leon Knight said: “It was an unbelievable experience. The standard of some of the teams like Mexico and Chile was unbelievably high.
“Meeting people from all around the world was brilliant and we made loads of new friends.
He added: “To win the North Wales League has been brilliant especially as it’s our first season. We can only get stronger and we are hoping to have two squads next year which will be fantastic.”
Cartrefi Colts goalkeeper, Jayson Owen, 25, who lives on the Parc Peulwys estate says playing in the Street Football North Wales League has been a brilliant experience.
He said: “I can’t thank Cartrefi Conwy enough, to be fair they have been so supportive. I went to the trials for the World Cup squad along with Leon and Yasmin but unfortunately I didn’t get in.”
Defender Daniel Roberts, 29, who lives in Kinmel Bay, added: “It’s been brilliant and to win the league has been fantastic. The game is really fast and physically hard so it helps with fitness too.”
Vicky added: “Street Football Wales is a social inclusion charity that exists to improve the lives and opportunities for socially excluded people in Wales.
“Cartrefi Conwy signed up to the Street Football Wales League as an opportunity to continue to develop commitment to supporting our tenants both young and old by offering opportunities to access training and development and build confidence.
“Not only have players won the title this year but they have also achieved huge results in employment, education, life changes with two players keen to manage teams in the league next year.”