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Homeless World Cup player joins Premier League

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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It sounds like the stuff of dreams – to move from sleeping in a shelter to playing football for one of the biggest teams in the world in less than 3 years, but for new Manchester United signing Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, better known as Bébé, it is very much a reality.

Bébé’s football career began at the Homeless World Cup, the charity that unites teams of people who are homeless to stand proud and represent their country in a world-class international football tournament.

Since its inaugral event in 2003 in Graz, Austria, which featured 18 teams, it has triggered grass-roots football programs in more than 70 nations and has engaged more than 100,000 homeless players in the benefits of football.

Over 70% of Homeless World Cup players experience a significant life change: coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into homes, jobs, education and training, repairing relationships or becoming coaches and players. Their mission is one that the FSF is very proud to support, which is why the Homeless World Cup is our nominated charity.

Bébé was living in Casa Do Gaiato, a well-organized shelter for young people on the outskirts of Lisbon when he was invited with 3 other boys from the shelter to play football with CAIS, the Portuguese organisation responsible for the Homeless World Cup team.

In 2009 he signed for Estrela da Amadora Football Club, a small club on the outskirts of Lisbon, playing in the Portuguese 3rd Division. After an impressive debut season, in June 2010 he signed for Portuguese top flight club Guimarães. Manchester United were alerted by his potential, and have paid a staggering £7m release clause in his contract to bring him to Old Trafford.

This year’s Homeless World Cup takes place in Rio, on Copacabana Beach, from 19th-26th September. To find out more, or to donate, please visit the Homeless World Cup website.

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