‘Goal Click’, football as a narrator
Discover people and cultures, all thanks to football
Shared football, football as a common heritage. The ‘Goal Click’ project starts from these concepts, a journey to over 100 countries, which leads us to discover the different shades of football. Intimate, characteristic points of view that come together in a single flow, in a common, spherical language.
We interviewed Matthew Barrett, founder of this project, who told us something more about the soul and the idea behind ‘Goal Click’.
What was the genesis of ‘Goal Click’?
Goal Click started in 2014. The original idea was to find inspirational people from EVERY country in the world and ask them to tell their own stories about their life, their community and their country through football, all using disposable analogue cameras (27 photos on a roll of film) and their own words.
We received our first camera back from Sierra Leone, from Pastor Abraham Bangura, a church minister and the manager of the national amputee football association, SLASA. After that, we found stories from people in countries like India, Iraq, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Mexico, Australia, and soon we were collaborating with individuals and partners in over 100 countries.
What prompted you to create this project?
We wanted to help people understand the world and each other through the common language of football. There were so many incredible people and organisations from around the world with stories that were simply not being heard.
At the heart of Goal Click is a mission to find the most compelling stories; from civil war amputees in Sierra Leone and local fan rivalries in Argentina, to refugees in Jordan and women’s teams in Nicaragua and Pakistan, all the way up to players with the US Women’s National Team.
What is, in your opinion, the most important meaning of ‘Goal Click’?
Goal Click gives people the chance to tell their own story and show what football means to them. Rather than an “outsider” coming in to tell their stories, we focus on the “insider” view, by giving people the power, control, and freedom to create and tell the world the story of their own lives.
It is very special to see, read and hear stories told in this way – it feels like we are exploring the world and communities in a deeper, more meaningful, and intimate way. It is more authentic and real than if someone else was telling their story. We want Goal Click to reflect the world, so diversity is really important. Not only different nationalities, but male and female; young and old; from players and coaches to fans and journalists; from the professional game through to the grassroots and sports charities.
Sensations, thoughts, reflections … What is ‘Goal Click’ giving you?
I am very proud of the stories Goal Click has told – and the network and community we have created. I hope it has helped people better understand other cultures and societies around the world.
I feel that my own understanding of the world has been shaped by interacting every day with people living very different lives from my own, in different countries, with different beliefs and living in very different circumstances. But football allows us to communicate. It is particularly powerful when we see the photos and stories displayed in exhibitions, we have created exhibitions in London, Paris, Lyon, Moscow, Budapest, Sao Paulo, Doha, New York, and Manchester!
Goal Click has also created a number of projects where we focus more deeply on a specific city, tournament, issue, or country. This has included series in Russia and in Qatar, providing an alternative perspective on real life in those two countries, which are often seen as controversial.
Our work in women’s football has been extensive and impactful, with our global women’s football project before the 2019 Women’s World Cup featuring over 45 women, from elite internationals to professionals and grassroots players. Everywhere in the world, women face greater barriers to playing than men. The stories of their football lives are often incredible in the face of such obstacles and prejudice. Being able to work with so many amazing women’s footballers and giving them a platform to tell their stories has been a wonderful experience.
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