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Switzerland player battles illness to make it to the Homeless World Cup in Mexico


Switzerland player battles illness to make it to the Homeless World Cup in Mexico

The story of Lucas, from Switzerland, who battled through schizophrenia to play in the 2012 Homeless World Cup in Mexico City.

Lucas has played football for as long as he can remember. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. His life was turned upside down and he went from working in a social services institution to being a patient in the very same institution.

As well as taking medication, Lucas was advised by doctors to get involved in the Surprise Strassensport football programme. This is the official partner of the Homeless World Cup in Switzerland and has been in operation since it hosted the very first Homeless World Cup in Graz in 2003. Lucas plays weekly and competes at quarterly tournaments alongside recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, asylum seekers, homeless people and vendors of the affiliated street paper Surprise Strassenmagazine.

Lucas tells me that his mental health issues are much more controlled now and he attributes this largely to playing football. "It feels good to move, to do something physical and to interact with other people." Speaking about representing his country Lucas reveals that he was shocked to be picked as he "didn't think that I was good enough." And in México City he was extremely proud and happy to be part of the action.

Lucas had not met all of his team mates until the tournament began. He has now made several new friends with whom he'll be staying in contact. On his return to Switzerland, Lucas will be starting a course in IT, and he tells me proudly that he has already been giving his new friends some lessons in how to use Facebook! 

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team. Visit the Homeless World Cup website to view the original article.]


Article type



Homeless World Cup


Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 23:00