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I am proud of who I am today, thanks to Street Soccer Scotland

Sarah Rhind, Street Soccer Scotland Player

My name is Sarah Rhind. I am 32 years old. I now live in Glasgow.

I grew up in a loving and supportive family.  I had an amazing upbringing and was praised and encouraged through my life. However I never felt I belonged anywhere. I always felt like I was different.

Feeling uncomfortable in my own skin led me to looking for a way out, a way of not feeling the discomfort and pain of being me.  I lacked self-esteem and self-belief, no matter how much encouragement and praise I received.  I used self-harm and drugs as a way to change how I felt.

14 years of destruction through drug misuse and I was on my knees.

I eventually went to Rehab and my life began to change. I got clean and eventually started to find my passion again. I have played football since I was in primary school, this was the one thing I knew and had belief I was good at.  I attended my first drop in session at Street Soccer.  I felt like I belonged, I didn't have to hide my past or be ashamed of who I was.  I was among people who understood me and accepted me for who I was.  They cared about me and helped me.  I have been given so many amazing opportunities, helped build my confidence and self-esteem.  Through the love and encouragement of street soccer I have changed so much, I am proud of who I am today.

Through a lot of hard work and commitment, I was blessed to be chosen as a player for the homeless world cup 2015 and to be an ambassador.    I was truly honoured.  To represent my country and play for Scotland was a dream come true.  It meant more to me to play at the Homeless World Cup than if I had ever made it when I was younger.  Playing in Amsterdam last year was life changing.  The Homeless World Cup was an experience I will never forget.  I have been blessed to experience it.  To be with hundreds of men and woman who have all come through similar difficulties in life and to be brought together in that amazing week, all with the same goals, To better their lives and to create change.  It was the best week of my life and I made lifelong friends.

I used new found hope and love to drive me forward when i returned home a week later.  An opportunity to volunteer with Celtic came up and I grabbed it.  I am happy to say I’m now a community coach and love my job.  Helping others to change their lives.

I will always be part of the street soccer family.  I was given another opportunity to be involved with the Homeless World Cup this year and jumped at the chance.  This time coaching Street Soccer United, the team of refugees made up from four nations all of whom are resident in Scotland.  It was amazing to be back at the Homeless World Cup less than a year on, to be a coach, an example and a role model to others.  To be able to share my experience with others and to give hope and faith that anything is possible.  I’m truly inspired by the people in my life and whom I have met along the way.  I wouldn't be where I am today without the love and support I received.  I want to give that back and help others.

More information is available at Street Soccer Scotland and Homeless World Cup.