Eric’s passion is football – and he’s good at it. As a teenager, top clubs including Arsenal and Tottenham scouted him. Unfortunately, though, due to a difficult childhood, the opportunity to play professional football passed him by. In fact, at 16, Eric was homeless and sleeping on friends’ sofas, on the streets or in hostels.
Things started to change though when a temporary hostel, where Eric was staying, advised him to go to Centrepoint, a charity that supports vulnerable homeless young people. They gave him somewhere safe to live and the vital support to move forward with his life.
Just as importantly, Eric was also introduced to a Comic Relief funded sports programme at Centrepoint that made football a central part of his life again. As part of the programme, Eric was selected from hundreds of hopefuls to represent England in the 2009 Homeless World Cup in Milan. It was a great experience that Eric cherished and recognised as an effective way of highlighting the plight of homeless people around the world.
Now, as part of the sports programme, Eric is also gaining professional football coaching qualifications and helping to run trials for the England team for the next Homeless World Cup. Eric says, “It’s always been my dream to be a professional football player but if it is too late now I want to be a manager or coach young people to help them get a career. I want to help make it happen for other talented kids.”
“As part of the sports programme, Eric is gaining coaching qualifications and running trials for the England team for the next Homeless World Cup.”