Billy Wise & Becca Mushrow (Assistant Coaches)
Today we started our journey on the Team England road. This road will take us to many places, including this year’s Homeless World Cup in Poznań, but today it was all about St George’s Park, the home of English Football.
St George’s Park was the inspirational venue chosen to celebrate the efforts and determination shown by all this year’s players on the Homeless FA’s Training Centre programme. It is incredible to think that I was in their shoes less than a year ago.
Excitement was inevitable, but everyone was blown away by the multi-million pound facility.
The day was a great opportunity for not only players, but staff too, to meet, bond and find out more about everything that would be going on this year. We heard about the upcoming tournaments, including stuff in Scotland, Manchester and, of course, the Homeless World Cup in Poznań.
The Homeless FA had made sure that the day was an experience like no other. My jaw dropped when I saw where we would be taking the training session, the spectacular indoor training pitch that the real England team use. It was an amazing facility, I think it was a real eye-opener for the players, and something which made them feel like a real England internationals. It also made me feel like an international coach! It definitely helped everyone realise what rewards can come from pure hard work.
This day was not just a great experience for the players, but for the staff as well. I am incredibly grateful to be given this opportunity, I never believed that I could be taking a training session for this year’s Team England at St George’s Park, it seems like such a short time ago that I was playing in Mexico. I really can’t believe it!
I felt so proud to be standing with my new football family, one that I can’t wait to share the future with. Starting with a trip to Poznań!
I started the day at 4.45 am. Yeah, 4.45 AM! I woke up and got ready and jumped on the bus to meet some of the players. I had everyone’s tickets who was coming down from Liverpool, because this year I am not a player, I am the assistant coach!!
I felt a bit nervous about this because it means I have more responsibility, not just for myself, but for others as well, but Gareth and everyone at the Homeless FA have assured me that they wouldn’t have given me the role if I wasn’t capable. They really believe in me, which makes me believe in myself. Plus, as the day went on, I met all of this year’s players and quickly realised that I haven’t really got a reason to be nervous.
St George’s Park was amazing! It really helped to create an incredible atmosphere, as everyone got their first taste of Team England and come together from all over the country to meet their international teammates.
The day was so full of excitement, but it also gave Gareth and the Homeless FA the opportunity to explain even more what the experience is all about. He spoke to everyone about the importance of what they were about to do, it was really good, because every time he talks people listen!
Philippa also got the chance to explain about Believe FC, she showed a video and as I looked around the room I could see how much it had grabbed everyone’s attention. People were really engaging and starting to realise what the Homeless FA and their relationship with Manchester United is all about. It reminded me of when I first heard Philippa talk, I thought “what’s all this about?” but quickly came to realise how amazing it all was.
I then got to run a training session with Bucko, which went really well. Then there was a lot of excitement as people all joined together for a HUGE team picture, before me and all of the players going to Poland got a coach to the hotel by Luton airport.
A few weeks ago I had asked Gareth whether I could write a presentation with the rest of the guys who had played for Team England before and been given staff roles this year. He said yes, so when it came to the time me, Billy, Rosie and Bucko stood in front of everyone and spoke about what our experience had been, and how we would be there for them this year. I was buzzing, but I managed to take myself to bed because the next morning we were travelling to Poland!
Since she has been in Poland a story about Becca has appeared on the Homeless World Cup website.