Common Goal: Juan Mata and his vision for football to make a difference

Classic Football Shirts are proud supporters of the Common Goal initiative. Every month you will be able to win a match worn shirt and donate to Common Goal movement.

Common Goal

Football in the summer of 2017 was surrounded by the shadows of big money transfers, engulfed by player mega wages and even more tax evasion scandals. We were on the horizon of oil-rich World Cups in Russia and Qatar which are laden in controversy. It seemed that football really was moving far away from the everyday football fan. However, something else was happening. Football was giving back.

In August of the same year, Juan Mata announced he was joining a football movement. “Today, I am launching something that I hope will help to change the world, even if only in some small way”.  With this statement, the Manchester United and Spain midfielder broke new ground and announced his vision to use football’s power and wealth to help ordinary people around the world.

A shared social vision. One Common Goal.

“Sometimes you look at footballers and think they’re selfish or they don’t bring a good image to society, but sometimes people underestimate footballers and their capacity to have a strong opinion and sympathy for others. I believe being a professional footballer means you have some responsibility to think of others who don’t have the same opportunities.”

The idea had been developing over a long period of time. Juan looked back on the amazing journey for him and his teammates at Chelsea to the Champions League Final back in 2012 as one of the main influences that led him on this drive for change.

“After we scored the equalizer … I just knew. Even when we went to penalty kicks, I still knew. And when Didier stepped up to take the final penalty, I was sure he was going to score. I think the expression on his face after the ball went in said everything. He didn’t know whether he wanted to cry or laugh. He was overwhelmed like we all were.

We were surrounded by 50,000 screaming German fans, but down on the pitch, Didier and I knew that we just needed a chance. As we were celebrating, I looked around at my teammates, and I saw the beauty of football. A keeper from the Czech Republic. A defender from Serbia, and another from Brazil. Midfielders from Ghana, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain and England. And, of course, one incredible striker from Côte D’Ivoire.

We came from all over the world, from different circumstances, and spoke many different languages. Some had grown up during wartime. Some had grown up in poverty. But there we were, all standing together in Germany as champions of Europe. The way we had come together from all around the world to work for a common goal was more meaningful to me than the trophy. To me, that is something that can change the world for the better.”

The Concept

Jürgen Griesbeck, who founded the charity Street World Soccer, has for many years been working tirelessly to make the world a better place through sport and to identify ways in which football as a global game can change lives. As with many such organisations, the stumbling block is funding the projects and getting significant exposure despite money and media interest within the game being at an all-time high.

Only a fraction of football’s potential to impact change had been realised.

“It’s not easy to put an idea into reality, but Jürgen had the background and I had the belief and the contacts to communicate the message that the power of football is unmatchable. Wherever I go, I see kids playing football. Even if there is no grass and it’s just sweaters for goals you see how people love football.” – Juan Mata

On a trip to Mumbai, Juan and Jürgen developed the concept for Common Goal. The football world would donate 1% of their salary to the Common Goal movement. Juan Mata would be the first and founding member of the Common Goal movement and would use his influence to reach out to the Football community. The raised funds would help charitable organisations supported by Street World Soccer.

“It was a great experience to be in Mumbai. A lot of the kids didn’t know who I was but I loved seeing them play football. I was also emotional when I saw they were trying to teach the kids English in the classrooms – and seeing people trying to feed their children in a proper way. It was a great visit but it was a big shock of reality in terms of how some people around the world do struggle.”

“This is not about me. Someone had to start and I did. But I hope a lot of us will commit fully to the project. The ultimate goal is that everyone related to football, including the media and fans, can help in different ways. The best way to start is with players because we bring greater attention. We are talking about 1% because we need a realistic structure that encourages other people to join. My own 1% doesn’t mean so much but if, one day, we reach 1% of the whole professional football revenue it will be great. And if people are financially not in a good situation they can join by spreading the word.”

The Growth of Common Goal

“I am leading this effort, but I don’t want to be alone. Through Common Goal, I can team up with other footballers from all over the world. Together we can use the game as a force for good.” – Juan Mata

Quickly after the initial media storm surrounding Common Goal and Juan Mata’s dedication to donate 1% of his earnings, World Cup winning German International Matts Hummels announced his intention to make a change and pledged 1% of his salary. This was closely followed by high profile Juventus and Italy International defender Giorgio Chiellini.

To date, there are 36 members supporting Common Goal and with the latest signing of Premier League winning goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel they now include four Premier League stars. This proves that there are people at the top of the football pyramid committed to social change through football.

The true reach of the project was realised when UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin announced his commitment to the Common Goal initiative and to promote Common Goal beyond the reaches of even a Premier League footballer. The future looks truly exciting.

“I firmly believe that football has the power to change the world and I was inspired by Juan Mata to join the Common Goal project. It’s great to see a player leading this movement because footballers have benefitted greatly from football and this way they can give something back. I call upon everyone in the international football community – players, coaches, clubs and leagues – to show they care about social initiatives and donate to causes that they believe in.” – Aleksander Ceferin

Classic Football Shirts join Common Goal

“It’s great to be part of such an amazing project that can do so much good. We are the first Sports website to donate directly to Common Goal and supporting charities and hope others will join the initiative in the future.” – Classic Football Shirts

In December Classic Football Shirts and Common Goal announced a partnership to auction match worn shirts. The concept is simple. Each £5 ticket purchased enters you into a draw for a match worn shirt, with all proceeds going directly to support the Common Goal movement. Each month a match worn shirt will be auctioned. As momentum grows the shirts will hopefully raise large amounts for the organisation.

“With Classic Football Shirts being leaders in the Match Worn shirt market it seemed like the perfect partnership and gives the everyday fan an opportunity to donate to the Common Goal initiative.” – Common Goal

All auctions will be shown here – www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk/common-goal – Bookmark the page to keep checking whose shirt is up for grabs next month

Find more information about Common Goal and Street World Soccer projects here