Wales

Homeless World Cup: Man's 'surreal' experience of captaining Wales

Tom Brady
Image caption Wales captain Tom Brady said the tournament had helped to change his life

Six months ago, homeless Tom Brady did not believe he had any kind of future - yet he can now look back on captaining Wales at an international football tournament.

He described leading his country at the Homeless World Cup as "surreal".

Katie Dalton of Cymorth Cymru hopes the legacy of the tournament in Cardiff will be to help end homelessness.

The week-long competition, which attracted about 80,000 fans to Bute Park, has come to an end.

Mexico won both the men's and women's tournaments.

Mr Brady described his life spiralling after he split up with his girlfriend two years ago - "sofa surfing" and struggling to get back on his feet.

"I had a bad past six months and, at the start of the year, I [didn't think I would] be here today..." he said.

"But this totally changed me. I'm looking at a positive way of life now."

The competition has also had a big impact on Bonny Jewell, a striker for Wales' women's team.

Because of anxiety and depression she has struggled to socialise, but said it was "amazing" how her fellow players and the crowd came together to support the competitors.

Image caption Mr Brady scored for Wales in the opening match of the 2019 Homeless World Cup

"We have had some amazing conversations with the public on homelessness," said Ms Dalton.

"They've committed to having chats with people who are on the street, showing kindness and compassion and writing to their AMs and MPs calling for change to social housing and universal credit."

She said she hoped the tournament's legacy could live on through policy changes and "everyday acts of kindness".

Image caption Michael Sheen put some of his own money into the bid to ensure Cardiff played host in 2019

The tournament, which attracted 500 players from 48 countries, had some big-name backers.

Actor Michael Sheen, who supported the tournament financially, said: "It changes lives for the better.

"I have seen it happen and it is my fervent hope that this year's tournament will provide many more opportunities for its transformative effects to be experienced by those who need it most, long after the final whistle is blown."

Among the music acts involved were Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield and Charlotte Church.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Crowds packed out the stands throughout the week-long tournament

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