Juan Mata's "Common Goal" initiative - a move which restores faith in the beautiful game
In the modern age of football where players go on strike for a pay hike and amidst realization of the game as a whole getting distanced from the people, comes the story of "Common Goal", a charitable movement launched by an award-winning NGO, "streetfootballworld" with the support of Manchester United star Juan Mata.
Through the initiative, Juan Mata is set to donate 1% of his salary every year which will be forwarded towards the football charities around the world. The NGO has a network of 120 such organizations around the world, ranging from Colombia to India (for which Mata flew down to the country in June) to which the donations will be made. 'Albion in the community' and 'Fotbal Pro Rozvoj', two charitable organizations in England and the Czech Republic respectively are two of the partners associated with the NGO.
The Spaniard is requesting his fellow colleagues to join the noble cause and is working tirelessly to achieve a long-lasting impact on the society through the thing he knows best - football. The long-term goal of the initiative as mentioned by the NGO is to "unlock 1% of the entire football industry's revenues for grassroots football charities that strengthen their communities through sport". As of now, 18 international footballers and one head coach have pledged to donate at least 1% of their salaries towards the Common Goal initiative.
On how he came up with the name "Common Goal" for this cause, Mata revealed a memorable incident from his playing career. He reveals that the night when Chelsea won the Champions League against Bayern Munich in 2012, Mata noticed how players from different countries and even different stories came together to fight for a common goal. That feeling of togetherness, that team spirit made him sure about bringing about a change in the world in his capacity.
Earlier this year, Mata lost his grandfather whom he was very attached to. His grandfather watched every game of his and talked about it with him over the phone. The loss of his dear one made the playmaker think of his legacy. He wanted to help out the people in need and decided to join this initiative and try to normalize the life of at least someone in need of help.
"People underestimate football. It gives hope to so many people," Mata once said when asked about the Common Goal. Football has always been more than just a sport and through this initiative, global stars have a way to give something back to the society. This is a unique way for the footballers and the clubs to bridge the gap between themselves and the fan base which has broadened in the recent past due to the money orientedness of the modern nature of the sport.
Here is a list of the international players (male and female) who have pledged their support to the Common Goal:
Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich)
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Dennis Aogo (Stuttgart) - 2%
Alfie Mawson (Swansea City)
Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth)
Alex Brosque (Sydney FC)
Julian Nagelsmann (Hoffenheim)
Hasan Ali Kaldirim (Fenerbahce)
Serge Gnabry (Hoffenheim)
Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund)
Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign)
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride)
Heather O'Reilly (Arsenal)
Olga Garcia (FC Barcelona)
Jean Sseninde (Crystal Palace)
Pauline Bremer (Manchester City)
Vero Boquete (PSG)
Nicole Regnier (America de Cali)
The NGO, "streetfootballworld" which was launched 15 years ago in Colombia after the death of Andres Escobar, a player shot dead for scoring an own goal, estimates that a roundabout of around £200,000 will be raised as of now and Mata has himself set a target to raise half a million pounds by the end of the first year.