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Helping Northern Ireland's homeless team is most fulfilling chapter of Moore's career

By Graham Luney

Published 12/07/2016

Team effort: The Northern Ireland homeless side celebrate their 10-2 victory over Switzerland at the World Cup in Scotland, including coach Terry Moore (right)
Team effort: The Northern Ireland homeless side celebrate their 10-2 victory over Switzerland at the World Cup in Scotland, including coach Terry Moore (right)

Terry Moore has experienced an Olympic Games, was part of the 1986 Canadian World Cup squad, played in the North American Soccer League, won the big prizes at Glentoran and, alongside manager Stephen Baxter, helped steer Crusaders to Irish Cup glory in 2009 - but even those magic moments aren't as rewarding as his current project with the Northern Ireland homeless side.

Four years ago the former defender was a relief worker at the Hosford House homeless shelter on the Newtownards Road when the invitation came to help the Northern Ireland Street League continue its mission of transforming the lives of homeless people.

Holding a Pro-Licence coaching qualification and with his wealth of experience in the game, the man who was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, was a natural choice to keep alive this remarkable football and human story.

Terry, who made 333 appearances for Glentoran, is now coach of the Northern Ireland side, working alongside manager Justin McMinn at the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow.

Our boys have been drawn in Group E in the first stage of the four-a-side tournament and they have won their first two clashes, 10-3 against Holland and 10-2 over Switzerland.

Up next are games against Romania and Italy today, but for the players it's another hugely significant step on an emotional journey, a world away from the Premier League and its embarrassment of riches.

For players Gavin McGuinness, Gerard Bannon, Mark Heagney, Jim Black, Johnny Sterrett, David Surgeoner, Marty Methven and Darren Spiers, this tournament is a celebration of the human spirit and the determination to survive and thrive against the odds.

And for Terry, who represented his country at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, this is the most rewarding chapter of his career.

"I've had many highs in my career as a footballer but this work is the most fulfilling and rewarding for me," said the 58-year-old who lives in Dundonald.

"There is real compassion and integrity in what we are doing and football has proven to be a useful hook and tool to use to lift these guys and give them hope and purpose. The Street Soccer NI programme is a wonderful project to be a part of and you won't find any egos here. This is about life experience, not money. There is a desire in all of us to help other people and it's a privilege to do this.

"We've been to Poland, Chile and last year we went to Amsterdam when eight of the players were homeless but now seven of them own their own home and three are in employment.

"I never thought I would do something like this but I've been looking at Rangers legend Ally Dawson who is doing the same work in Scotland and it's very touching.

"Did I feel what I was doing in my 30s or 40s was rewarding? No - not in comparison to witnessing the trust and rapport we have within the homeless team.

"The guys are streetwise and trust needs to be built up. That's a process that can take years."

These ambitious initiatives need significant backing and the Northern Ireland side have loyal supporters in the Housing Executive, the Irish FA and Ulster Bank.

And every Northern Ireland fan should get behind this courageous team. Follow their progress by logging on to www.homelessworldcup.org

Street Soccer NI is on Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtag #TeamNI to show your support.

Belfast Telegraph

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