Last week, ams, welcomed the members of both the Austrian national squads participating in this year’s Homeless World Cup tournament in Cardiff to its headquarters. As part of its sponsorship of the teams, via Caritas Styria, the visit to ams headquarters included a factory tour and a program of personal development and fun activities designed to help improve the future life and work opportunities of the players.
Each of the 16 players, ladies team average age of 19, men’s team average age of 25, have personally experienced homelessness or social exclusion. They also received a Mi fitness band from Xiaomi, which uses ams sensors to count steps, monitor heart rate, and encourage healthy movement, a useful tool as they continue their training regime.
In the evening, the group jointly attended the European Football Championship Qualifier match between Austria and Slovenia, where the players received the official send off to the Homeless World Cup from Dr Leo Windtner, the President of the Austrian Football Federation. They were also excited to meet and talk to David Alaba, a regular member of the Austrian National Football squad and Bayern Munich player.
An amazing 94% of players consistently say that the Homeless World Cup has had a positive impact on their lives – something that ams and its employees are committed to support through this sponsorship. After the tournament, a large percentage of players improve their lives through education, employment in social enterprises and other businesses, substance abuse rehabilitation, and supported housing.
The feeling of belonging, challenge of working in a team, regaining a health-oriented attitude towards life, self-esteem, experience of representing their country, and last the experience of fun is a powerful combination to change a person’s life.
Homeless World Cup national partners, such as Caritas Austria, integrate football with other approaches locally to support the needs of homeless people in their country.