From a young age, football is all Kristian Campbell has ever known.
London-born Campbell has starred for the England team since arriving in Cardiff for this year’s Homeless World Cup.
The England squad, supported by charity Centrepoint, comprises players who have shown ‘progress and proficiency in important life skills like teamwork, commitment, positivity, organisation, and improved health and wellbeing’.
Speaking after a narrow defeat to Zimbabwe, Campbell explained: “I thought the game was actually very good, but also really intense. Zimbabwe had the speed, the power, and the technique—they had everything, really. They were so organised and disciplined in both defence and attack, which was key.
“We tried to read their style of play but they kept changing it up and we didn’t react, but it was still a very entertaining game.”
Sitting in the Cardiff sunshine, the Manchester United fanatic adds: “From young, I’ve kicked a ball and played the game for teams all throughout my childhood and I’ve recently become homeless. I was living at my mum’s until the age of 20 before moving in with my dad, who passed away three years ago.
“It was then I went into a hostel and I’ve just been there, working hard and trying to keep my spirits up—and football is my outlet.
“Football is so important in helping change my life because it’s the one escape that I have. It’s hard to describe it, but I’ve always had a mad passion for the game. Any problems you have at home or at the hotel just disappear when you’ve got a ball at your feet.
“Football is just my little playground.
“This is my first time at any sort of tournament like this, it’s a life-changing experience for so many and I’m enjoying every second.
“We want to kick on and bring it home.”
Words: David Brockett
Images: Daniel Lipinski / Soda-Visual