Unless you have been hiding in a great big hole for the past few weeks, you are probably aware that the Footballing World Cup kicked off this week. And that got us thinking, why IS football such a beautiful game? So we decided to ask some of our local legends why they love football so much. We recently caught up with Foyer’s hottest footballing prodigy, still buzzing from the confirmed news that he’ll be heading to Chile in October for the Homeless World Cup, we asked Kenny Flood What does football mean to you?
Football means a lot to me, it keeps me active, fit and is one of my hobbies to carry out. I started playing football on the streets at the age of 9 and quickly found my natural position to be goalkeeper. I played my first match at 10 for my school in a cup where we got to the final only to be beaten 2:1 by St. Pats. I got a lot of praise for my performance and my friends brought me to play for Wolfhill U11’s where I played until the club folded a few years later. I played Gaelic for a while but my love for football was too strong so stopped playing when I was 14. I played for St Marys until I was 15 but stopped playing due to my strong involvement I had with drugs and anti-social behaviour. I played street football until I was about 16 or 17 but stopped altogether because I thought taking drugs was more fun, however this was a big mistake.
After four or five years out of the game Gavin from Bytes approached me and asked if I wanted to come for a kick-about. After Gavin saw me play he noticed some talent and brought me along to the Homeless league on Fridays. This was a big step for me as I had been out of the game for so long. After I started football I began to really turn my life around – I got off all hard drugs and started putting my head down. I started playing 11 a-side on Saturdays thanks to Gavin and this helped me greatly as football on Friday and Saturday gave me the strength to stay off drugs and provided something more positive to fill my time with.
In early 2013 I had trials to go to the Homeless World Cup, unfortunately I did not make the squad that time. Usually I would have given up at this stage but I didn’t, I kept going and in early 2014 I again got trials for Northern Ireland which I successfully made the squad for the Homeless World Cup which will this year be in Chile. This means an awful lot to me and is the best opportunity in my life so far. I just have to be thankful to everyone who believed in me and pushed me along in the right direction and gave me this opportunity for this I am very thankful. I’m so excited to be going, for the next few months every time someone says the word Chile a big smile comes across my face!
As for the current World Cup competition, Kenny couldn’t decide on one favorite so tips Argentina, Brazil or Germany to take the top prize, with Belgium labelled his surprise package to lift the much coveted Jules Rimet in 2014.
*In light of the World Cup mania that is gripping the nation, we have started a fantasy league online with The Sun – If you’re interested in joining speak to Bryan Murray, Belfast Foyer apprentice.