It’s not every day we hear truly inspiring stories, particularly not from our sporting stars. More often than not, the papers are filled with stories that bring our stars to shame, such as footballers falling out of taxis or getting into fights. But for one such player, this is not the case. For Fara Williams her story takes her from the streets of London, to England footballing stardom. Estate agent in Wimbledon, Robert Holmes explains how Fara went from zero to hero…
The 31 year old, who regularly plays for Liverpool, played her 135th cap for England on Monday against Norway in the World Cup and saw her team get to 3rd place in this year’s finals. However, unlike many in her position she hasn’t been mentored and encouraged from an early age, in fact the England star spent seven years bouncing between hostels and living on the streets – something she kept quiet from her team mates at the time. Unbelievably, she still managed to keep playing for England during this time and credits football as the thing that kept her on the straight and narrow.
Since bursting on to the scene in 2001, aged 17, Fara has scored 38 goals for England and has been playing for Liverpool for three years after eight years of dedicated service with Everton. But she wasn’t always the confident woman she is today. For much of the time she spent in hostels she claims she could “barely look or talk to anyone” She kept her barriers up and wouldn’t smile at those living with her. Fara says she sees the same traits in the homeless girls she trains today. The same wall is up and they will have an air of hopelessness. Most importantly to keep their dignity, she says you must treat them as normal and not look down on them.
Fara counts herself lucky in comparison, as she had football to keep her going. Her dreams that international footballing stardom were just around the corner kept her motivated and away from bad elements. She claims that she never really lost hope because football never allowed her to. She had a focus and a belief that she was good at something and that her talent would shine through!
Williams made her debut in the 2001 European championships at the tender age of 17 and four years later was picked to represent England again in the European cup and since then she has gone from strength to strength. Whilst only a few years ago she was an unknown now she is a household name and a true ambassador for women’s football.