Common Goal

Common Goal was my first entrepreneurial experience and to this day remains one of the most surreal periods of my life – a period in which we saw a simple idea go viral and become a global movement.
I co-founded the organization with Thomas Preiss and Jürgen Griesbeck in 2015. The plan was to create a systemic connection between professional football (soccer) and social change, and the mechanism through which we achieved this was a pledge. Specifically: professional players pledge 1% of their salary to a collective fund, and we allocate this fund to high-impact charities around the world.
We spent the best part of two years trying to put the idea in front of as many footballers as possible, in the hope we could launch the movement with a ‘Starting 11’ of players who had made the pledge. In the end, we were only able to recruit one: Juan Mata, who was playing for Manchester United at the time. Running out of ideas, we decided to go live with Juan as our sole player. Less of a Starting 11 and more of a Starting Juan...
Then something important – and fortunate – happened. The day before our official launch, a player called Neymar was transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a record-breaking €222 million. To state the obvious: that’s a lot of money, and much of the media narrative around the transfer openly questioned how football had reached a point where a 22-year-old can be worth quarter of a billion dollars while many of his fans would struggle to scrounge together enough money to attend just one of his matches.
The next day, as planned, Juan unveiled Common Goal to the world – a vehicle through which he would commit a portion of his salary to high impact charities for the rest of his career. The media picked up on this as a perfect counter narrative to the Neymar story and, before we knew it, Common Goal had been featured in more than 500 newspapers all over the world.
Early media coverage

Early media coverage.

Overnight, we went from having not been able to recruit a second player to suddenly having the phone ring off the hook with players who wanted to join the movement. Mats Hummels, Megan Rapione, Alex Morgan and Giorgio Chiellini all signed up over the next few days and the movement only continued to gain momentum from there.
It’s now grown to include hundreds of players from dozens of countries, as well as a wider range of stakeholders from the world of football – from coaches like Jürgen Klopp to brands like Adidas to institutions like UEFA. Common Goal was even featured in a recent edition of the EA Sports FIFA video game franchise.
I was officially in charge of all things digital for the movement, a fairly porous role that encompassed managing our website (Drupal/PHP), social media, press relations and general communications. Amongst other things, the experience made me realize I wanted to dive deeper into the craft of building digital products. After three eventful/enjoyable/exhausting years, I left to further my studies in computer science.