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100 Members. 34 Countries. 1 Common Goal.

In May of 2019, Common Goal reached its 100 Players and Managers Milestone. After 20 months of building connections between football and the football for good sphere, the movement now has 101 individuals pledging to address the world’s greatest social challenges of our time.

In May of 2019, Common Goal’s 100 Players and Managers milestone made international headlines, connecting 100 individuals to the football for good sphere, pledging $1.4 million, reaching 34 nations, and reflecting a 50/50 gender parity. The 101st member announcement was made shortly after in June, totalling to 101 players and managers to pledge a minimum of 1% of their income towards high-impact, football-based NGOs that drive progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals — from advancing gender equality to driving jobs and growth to promoting greater peace and social justice.

The movement began in August of 2017, as the narrative around football began to change, arguably highlighted by the £200 million Neymar deal, in which the Brazilian footballer signed on to Paris St-Germain for, at the time, a world record sum of £200 million from Barcelona. The headline signalled a call to action: to pay it forward — to include the livelihoods of the very same fans who cultivated the culture of passion and prosperity for footballers worldwide.

It was at this point that Manchester United star midfielder, Juan Mata, published a piece on The Player’s Tribune, recognizing the disparities between football in the stadium and football in the communities around the world. The game hadn’t changed, but the perceptions around it had. In his piece, he launched a rallying cry to show the world the power of his beloved sport, unveiling the collaborative initiative of Common Goal. Juan Mata, along with co-founders, Jurgen Griesbeck and Thomas Preiss, launched Common Goal as a movement of streetfootballworld, an accessible outlet for both footballers and football for good organisations to connect and collaborate towards empowering disadvantaged young people and their communities through a combination of football and informal education.

Alongside the journey of accomplishing this mission, the embedded implications of Common Goal slowly surfaced: On the individual level, footballers could hold themselves accountable to being good footballers both on and off the field, emulating genuine sportsmanship. Likewise, athletes augmented dimensions of themselves beyond their jersey number but also seeing themselves as community builders, equity pioneers, and global citizens, being a part of something larger than themselves, their teams, or their countries — a common goal.

Common Goal has grown exponentially since its inception, with a number of recent high-profile members joining, including the 15 members of the Canadian National Women’s team, two of the movement’s first female Australians: Alex Chidiac and Aivi Luik, two more Scots: Sophie Howard and Christie Murray, and their 101st member, 2018 Nigerian Women’s Footballer of the Year: Onome Ebi in the past month. With these new additions to the team, there is now a substantive Common Goal presence at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Lyon, France.

At 101 members, the movement’s country leadership board is overwhelmingly tied between Canada and Spain, both at 16 members respectively, followed by Germany with 12 members, and the United States in third place with 8 members, including Olympic gold medalists Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. In May, the 100 members marked in this milestone reflect over $1.4 million pledged to the football for good cause, 34 nations represented, and 50/50 gender parity between men and women. It is both heartwarming and remarkable to boast this level of gender parity as football continues to welcome more and more pioneering women who trailblaze the game’s reach. With the Women’s World Cup this summer, the momentum to solidify gender equality in football has only just kicked off.

There have been plenty of highlights throughout Common Goal’s 22 months (and counting), but the 101-members milestone represents more than just 101 salaries combined; it signifies the growing narrative that football isn’t about star players scoring endless goals, but rather all players scoring one common goal.

Common Goal is uniting the football community in tackling the greatest social challenges of our time. And we can use your help. Join the team at www.common-goal.org.

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