A WOMAN who has spent part of her life living on the streets is currently kicking up a storm at the 2008 Homeless World Cup trials.
Michelle Pickles is one of only three girls left in contention for a place on the England squad which will represent the country at the Streetsoccer tournament in Melbourne in December.
Her skills have seen her through to the final selection stages of the competition, which saw applications from nearly 300 homeless or vulnerably accommodated men and women this year.
Michelle, 21, is a resident at the Stonham Batley Foyer, in Batley. It is a service which provides accommodation, support and training to ten young people aged 16 to 25.
She attended the initial trials at Manchester City’s Platt Lane training ground with two other Foyer residents last month and is now in the final selection sessions.
They are taking place at The Cliff, Manchester United’s youth team academy, and she will find out in August if she has been selected for the final squad of ten players who will travel to Australia to take part in the fifteen-day tournament, which is organised by the Big Issue in the North, Manchester United and Kick it Out.
Michelle’s achievements represent the next step in the amazing progress she has made in following her goals since arriving at the Foyer in March 2007.
An avid football fan from a young age, she has been volunteering at the national children’s centre coaching sports. She is currently working towards a coaching certificate and is beginning a course in referee training in June.
Chelsea supporter Michelle was also recently accepted onto the Huddersfield Town women’s team but, unfortunately, had to turn it down because of a lack of funds to travel to training. She will hopefully be able to attend the training next season with the help of the Stonham Batley Foyer Welfare fund.
She said: “I feel brilliant and really excited to have made it so far in the competition and will be really buzzing if I make the squad. Everyone at the Foyer is really happy for me, and I’ve made some good friends at the training sessions.
“It will be amazing to go to Australia if I make the squad but, even if I don’t make the final team, I’m just really happy that I’ve got so far.”