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Salvation Army host annual homelessness football tournament

by Cara Bentley

The Salvation Army's annual homelessness football tournament, The Partnership Trophy, took place in Manchester on Thursday with the special guest this year being the UK's greatest female footballer, Kelly Smith - a former Arsenal player with over 100 caps for England.

After meeting the players and sharing some tips in a skills session between matches, she spoke to Premier: "The atmosphere today here is buzzing. I'm literally having so much fun. I've just done a little football session for some of the players that are in between games and there's a lot of banter going on and a lot of competitive-nature players here giving it their all.

"There's a few female players which is nice to see but, yeah, it's a very competitive tournament that I think a lot of them want to win!"

They all had a Q and A session with Smith over lunch where she explained why she left England to pursue football elsewhere, spoke about her difficulty with injury, alcohol addiction and feeling insecure.

She said: "I just shared my story - my highs, my lows - that you can reach your goals if you talk to people, rather than just being so isolated and not speaking to anyone and being in your own head. Share your problems - and that's kind of the message I tried to get across to a lot of the people here today."

"I think some of the people here today are struggling with addiction issues, drugs, alcohol, whatever it may be. Some are in recovery, so there's a lot of issues that people have that are there but you wouldn't know that today because everyone's here with a smile, enjoying the day, enjoying the sunshine and enjoying playing football.

"I think football brings a lot of people together and it makes you forget about your problems. Sometimes when you're out there, you're competing and playing as a team and wanting to win, I think your endorphins are going and there's a feelgood factor today and that's certainly what the Salvation Army have accomplished today in my opinion."

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