Super Eagles forward Cyriel Dessers has joined the common goal initiative.
He is the fourth Nigerian player to drive social change through football by promising 1% of his salary.
Dessers will also team up with compatriots William Trust-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Onome Ebi in soccer’s growing social impact collective.
Through Common Goal, Dessers will support the work of YEDI in his home country, an organization that uses football to equip young people with the tools to help build their assets, facilitate their access to health services and promote their adherence to healthy behaviors.
“Soccer is the most important sport in the world, wherever we travel and go, it is present,” he said.
“People watch football all over the world, so the men and women who play it have a certain responsibility.
“I choose to support the YEDI project in Nigeria. Not only because it is in the country of my roots, but also because of the work they do. Spread awareness about diseases and prevention and inform and help young adolescents ”.
Dessers first became aware of Common Goal through co-founder Juan Mata. Hearing the passionate words of the Spanish about the social responsibility of a footballer was something that resonated deeply with him.
However, it was after his summer transfer to KRC Genk and after recently acquiring his first international for Nigeria that the 25-year-old forward felt his sense of personal responsibility grow.
After some productive conversations with other members, a conversation with his international teammate Troost-Ekong helped reassure him that committing 1% of his salary to the social development of those in need was the right thing to do.
“I saw it [Common Goal] A couple of years ago with Juan Mata and since then he has been on my mind, ”said Dessers.
“This summer I spoke with some people from Common Goal and in the national team I spoke with William Troost-Ekong, they confirmed the ideas that I had, so it was an easy decision for me.
“As a soccer player, you are blessed. You can earn a living doing what you like best.
“I reached a turning point in my career: becoming the Netherlands’ top scorer, my first international game for Nigeria. As his name grows a little more in the world of football, the feeling of responsibility grows.
“This is the perfect time to give back and help and support people in need.”
Not yet at the peak of his powers, the young Nigerian still has plenty of time left in the game to be remembered for his exploits on the field.
However, the humble Belgium-born forward hopes his decision to join at a relatively young age can inspire others to do so as well.
“I look forward to inspiring people to join us with Common Goal,” he said.
“You can help a lot of people in a fairly simple way.
“It’s great to create a legacy and win games on the court, but I think it feels great too. [do] this off the field.
“This is a first step for me, but I think we can grow as a group and help each other.”