ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – An unlikely player will be adding to St. Louis’ proud soccer tradition this week, by playing goal on the national team in an international tournament. But it’s not just any player and it’s not just any tournament. He’s Cliff Byrd and it’s the Homeless World Cup, being held in Oslo, Norway.
Byrd plays locally on the St. Louis Roadies, a team sponsored by Peter and Paul Community Services. He says it’s more than just a team, “You don’t really have to be homeless, because most of the guys have been, but I’ve had many issues with substance and stuff so that’s kind of helped.” How has it helped him? “It gave me a load of confidence, I can rely on those guys. And it’s fun.”
Highlights from 2016’s Homeless World Cup:
Byrd, who now lives in Peter and Paul’s Labre Center, was selected for the national team at a tryout in Philadelphia, where he got to meet Hope Solo and other soccer greats. He debuts on the international stage against Norway, in Oslo, on Tuesday.
“I know I have to up my game that’s for sure” he says. “I’ve never been out the country so it’s a new experience for me. Looking to meet a lot of new people and stuff.”
When Cliff returns home from the tournament, he plans to look for a new job. He’s formerly worked for a dog grooming business and as a lifeguard. He’s also hoping to go back to school. But, in the meantime, he focused on soccer, and representing the USA.
You can watch Cliff play in the Homeless World Cup here.