For Norway player Gaute Søvik, the call to join his national Homeless World Cup team was an unexpected one, given his current role.
“As a coach myself I was thinking one of my players would be involved, but the national team wanted me. When I received the call to join up with the team I was really surprised.”
The 35-year-old, who lives around 30 mins away from Oslo, is relishing every minute of being able to represent his own country in front of a home crowd.
“It’s great. It has always been a dream for me to play with the flag on my chest. And the feeling when I went onto the pitch yesterday was amazing. I never felt so proud in my life. To have 2,000 people cheering for you was extreme.”
Søvik is currently studying and hopes to become a nurse in the future. And through football, he believes he has learned a lot with which to take into everyday life.
“We have different methods in life for change, I use football. Football has really brought me out of my shell. When I go out onto the pitch I feel like a commander and a chief — things I can use away from the pitch.”
And Søvik, who himself formed teams while living in a hostel and in rehab, is very aware of the level of work that goes into the organisation of the tournament on every level.
“It’s very good. It’s hard to describe. But I see how much effort is put into the event, from building the pitches to the coaches, who have developed a way to work with the players and make sure everything runs well.”