TORONTO — Canadian international goalkeeper Erin McLeod is joining Manchester United's Juan Mata, Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini, U.S. international Alex Morgan and other soccer stars in digging into their pockets to help others.
They have signed on with Common Goal, pledging one per cent of their salary to a central fund which is distributed to soccer-based charities around the world.
Common Goal says more than 70 members of the worldwide soccer community have joined, generating more than US$1.2 million since the initiative was launched in August 2017.
The organization says McLeod, who turned 36 on Tuesday, is the first Canadian to come on board.
Common Goal is the creation of streetfootballworld, which boasts a global network of more than 120 soccer-based organizations that use the sport to tackle social issues ranging from gender equality in India to peace-building in Colombia and refugee integration in Germany.
McLeod said she got involved after doing some work with Vancouver's Canada Scores, a charity that works with kids in the Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., districts and is affiliated to Common Goal.
"They told me about it and the concept and the players behind it and how one per cent of your salary can literally change the lives of so many children and people around the world, I thought I just really wanted to be a part of it," she said.
Mata helped shed light on Common Goal in an essay for The Players' Tribune in August 2017.
"I'm asking my fellow professionals to join me in forming a Common Goal Starting XI," he wrote. "Together we can create a movement based on shared values that can become integral to the whole football industry — forever."
"It's a small gesture that if shared can change the world," he added.
At the time, Mata was reportedly making 140,000 pounds (C$245,000) a week in the English Premier League.
McLeod, who plays her club football in Sweden for Vaxjo DFF, is currently with the Canadian national team in Portugal for the Algarve Cup. The native of St. Albert, Alta., has won 116 caps for Canada.
Away from soccer, McLeod is a musician and artist who has a degree in communications and PR from Penn State and is currently studying philosophy and French.
"Erin has such an incredible amount of experience in football, and so many interests and talents beyond the field of the play, that she is a fantastic addition to our diverse movement," Common Goal CEO Jurgen Griesbeck said in a statement. "It is inspiring to see how many female players are joining Common Goal and showing their leadership."
Common Goal's web site — www.common-goal.org — has more information.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press