Common Goal has launched its plan to end systemic racism in soccer and society with a new action-based Anti-Racist Project, driven by a diverse coalition of leaders from the U.S. soccer industry.
Manchester City and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen is among the first to pledge individual support, while the movement is also supported by Chicago Fire, Angel City and Oaklands Roots from MLS, NWSL and USL respectively, as well as American Outlaws – the biggest supporters group in the United States – and the foundation of former USMNT defender Tony Sanneh.
The coalition is calling on fans, players, teams, and leagues to join the collective effort against racism and aims to fund and implement a toolkit designed by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) experts across the U.S. soccer landscape that will provide anti-racist training for players, coaches, fans, club staff and executives from grassroots to elite level.
In the first year alone, the project will use existing funding from partners to train 5,000 coaches, 60,000 young people and 115 staff in over 400 communities. The more support, the more that positive impact can be accelerated and scaled, first in the United States and then internationally.
“There’s been so much talk over the last months about racism in soccer and beyond, and enough is enough,” Steffen said.
“It’s time to take action. We need to show people how to be anti-racist. I wanted to join this project because it is the kind of collective action necessary to make large-scale change, and I hope that this project will go worldwide and create a new culture of inclusion in as many countries as possible.”
Sanneh, who played at the 2002 World Cup and for clubs in Germany and MLS during his 15-year pro career, explained, “I remember being chased around the field being called the N-word.
“We have made some progress but not enough. Racism takes many forms. Sometimes it’s an obvious individual manifestation, but it’s also the structural barriers embedded in the game at different levels, but the end result is the same – people of color are excluded from the game. We know what the problem is – now is the time to go and fix it.”
Evan Whitfield from Common Goal, who is also a lawyer and ex-MLS player, said, “There are no Black majority owners of MLS Clubs, there are zero Black coaches in the NWSL. This needs to change, and the responsibility to make that change lies with everyone – not just people of color.”
Common Goal is a collective social impact movement in global football created in 2017 by streetfootballworld, the world’s leading organisation in the field of football for good.
Common Goal enables professional football players, managers, officials and clubs to donate a minimum of 1% of their earnings to support high-impact initiatives that use football to drive progress towards the Global Goals.
More than 180 professional football players and managers from over 40 countries have joined Common Goal, including Serge Gnabry, Pernille Harder, Jurgen Klopp, Alex Morgan, Paulo Dybala and Juan Mata, with over €3.5m raised.