HWC Cardiff 2019: How football helps save people at their lowest ebb


The Homeless World Cup is taking place in Cardiff at the moment.

Californians Lisa Wrightsman, coach of the US women’s team, and her friend Savannah Tijerino-Santos have had drink and drug issues. Both have experienced both jail and homelessness.

Football has helped them get their lives back on track and they are now both part of the USA women’s team at this year’s Homeless World Cup, Savannah as a player.

Lisa told Tim Hartley how football and especially those involved in homeless football gave her a support and in her words a “positivity” lacking elsewhere.

“The women’s league folded. I got into drugs and alcohol to fill the void, got arrested, ended up in jail and then rehab.

“When I came here, I was treated very differently. People had a lot of admiration that I was trying to make the positive changes even though I had made a lot of my own mess. But back at home … there wasn’t any positivity around that.”

Lisa lives in Sacramento CA, as does her player Savannah who has been homeless in the last 18 months. She told Tim:

“It was probably the hardest moments in my life, having to deal with it on my own because I was stuck, and had nowhere else to go.”

Luckily her mother was a former street soccer player and introduced her to Lisa.

“The moment I met them (Lisa and friend Tiffany) my life totally changed.

“It went from being down, being negative; not having this, not having that to appreciating what you have and accepting who you are.”

Savannah, who had just left the pitch, experienced stands of people cheering her name in Cardiff.

“It was a dream come true. It really pumps you up makes you feel good. It makes me feel better about myself.”

Prost’s Tim Hartley met them after a resounding 8-0 victory against Belgium in Cardiff. Here is the full interview.

[VIDEO] Michael Sheen talks exclusively to Prost on the importance of the HWC

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Fans in Cardiff watch Belgium v USA
Photo: Tim Hartley/Prost Cymru


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