Free haircuts for players puts Homeless World Cup a cut above

Players at the Homeless World Cup will be leaving Amsterdam with a brand new haircut as well as a medal this week, thanks to the efforts of Amsterdam’s Homeless Barber. 

After players from all over the world battle it out on the pitch, Ryan Wooter has been treating them to a free trim and style in a barbers chair set up between the stands.

Photo: Paul Bence

Ryan Wooter is well known in Amsterdam for giving free haircuts to the homeless after he started the charity Homeless Barber last year with his friend Rogér del Prado. 

The pair regularly visit Blaka Watra homeless shelter near Amsterdam’s central station to offer free haircuts to service users.

Wooter often encourages his client’s to talk about themselves while in the chair. These stories are then shared online at in an attempt to change people’s perception of homelessness. 

“What we try to do is put everybody’s story online so people can relate to them. It’s our good deed helping out other people,” says Wooter, during a short break from clipping hair on the final day of the tournament. 

“Some people are very open but others you need to convince them to tell their story, because it might help someone else.”

Photo: Paul Bence

Wooter says it’s incredible how big a difference a small thing like a haircut can make to his clients. 

“It gives people self-esteem. They look good, they feel good,” he adds. “Some people can be shy and modest but most of the time I get a ‘wow factor’.”

Wooter is thrilled to offer his service to players from around the world at the Homeless World Cup this week. 

“It’s an amazing experience,” he says. “The players are very grateful because they get a haircut that they might not normally get.”

Wooter says a memorable client at the tournament was English player Jordan Richardson. 

“He was really enthusiastic and a really nice guy,” recalls the barber. “When I was finished I saw him on the pitch playing. He looked great and happy. For me, that’s amazing.”