Design FC partners with Common Goal: Mental Health Awareness for Youth Soccer Players

Youth soccer players learned about the importance of mental health in sports while designing their own sports jerseys at a sports bar on Wednesday.

Players of Triboro United Soccer Club participated in a training workshop by Design FC in collaboration with "Create the Space" — Common Goal’s mental health initiative — to support players on and off the pitch to express themselves, feel safe, and improve their mental well-being.

"Create the Space" is an action-based program to unite the football community in making football a psychologically safe environment for everyone, supporting mental health within and outside of the game, according to the Common Goal website. 

This is an initiative through Common Goal — a movement that uses the cultural force of football to help shift society towards a sustainable and equitable future for all. The training series is also
co-designed by E-Motion and Soccer in the Streets.

Fox Corporation and FOX Sports are funding these trainings to improve the mental health of our youth and further the efforts to help make soccer accessible, diverse, and inclusive for youth athletes nationwide.

The training session on Wednesday consisted of teamwork activities, exercises to discuss the importance of mental health in soccer, listening to youth players’ experiences, and designing jerseys. 

Design FC, which led the session, is an organization that allows youth to creatively express themselves through the design of sports jerseys and apparel. Through specialized workshops, kids are taught creative thinking, self-expression, and storytelling skills to visually express what means most to them.

"For us, design is used as a way to open a kid’s eyes to the world," said Omri Gal, the founder and executive director of Design FC. "...It’s an opportunity for kids to tap into their creative sides to build social and emotional skills — to build their confidence.."

Although Design FC is originally rooted in design and creative self-expression, Gal saw that in some instances, these jerseys became an outlet for players to express their difficult mental health struggles.

"I think I learned a bit about myself and about how I view soccer and mental health as a unit," said Milton Che, a Triboro United Soccer Club member at the workshop. "I learned that through expressing myself through drawings and like writing stuff down and transporting that to a jersey."