In celebration of diversity and the power of play, we caught up with Celia Vigil – a member of Thrive's Youth Team – to learn more about Thrive’s purpose and why she believes football can change the world.
A team of the world’s best goalkeepers.
It’s PARK week in FIFA22 🙌
And this year, we are taking it up a notch with a world first environmental activation ✌️ For our Featured Squad Battle, we’ve selected a team of goalkeepers.
Yes, you read that right, a squad made up entirely of the world’s best stoppers to stop climate change.
And they've all been selected for very specific reasons:
G. Donnarumma / GK
The best goalkeeper in the game is the best goalkeeper to save the planet.
There’s nothing more to say.
With Donnarumma, we’re in safe hands.
Sean Johnson / RCB
Representing the Big Apple, NYCFC’s dynamic goalkeeper Sean Johnson starts for us at Right Centre Back.
It is expected that by 2100, sea levels will be 18 to 75 inches higher than today along New York's coastlines. And with New York's coastal counties home to more than half of New Yorkers, prioritizing the planet is vital now more than ever.
Manuel Neuer / CB
With iconic distribution and positioning, Manuel Neuer starts for us at Centre Back, the man that reinvented the position with his much lauded sweeper keeper style for both club and country.
And it is his home country, Germany, that has set ambitious goals in its fight against climate change - targeting carbon neutrality by 2045. They are one of a handful of countries globally to have enshrined the goal of climate neutrality by or before 2050 in its national law. Now that’s progress!
Ederson / LCB
“I started as a wing-back and center-back…”
Growing up in Brazil, Ederson has admitted that it was his mother that convinced him to become a goalkeeper. In our Save the Planet XI, we take him back to his roots at Left Centre Back with the opportunity to fly into tackles and spray passes into midfield.
This is also an opportunity for us to shed some light on his homeland, Brazil. The impacts of climate change have been clear; especially on the Amazon. Representing 40% of all remaining rainforest on the planet, volatile changes in temperature and rainfall are set to pose a serious threat to a vital carbon sink.
Ederson is also one of the only players to play in the number 31; which is PARK’s number as well ✌️
Pedro Gallese / RM
Peru’s first team goalkeeper, Pedro Gallese steps in at Right Midfield for our Save the Planet XI.
Always proudly representing his nation, Peru is experiencing first hand the devastating effects of our climate crisis. Take for instance the Andes, where up to 85% of plant and animal species, habitats and communities are projected to be negatively impacted by climate change.
Kasper Schmeichel & Peter Schmeichel / CM
Denmark’s most iconic father-son duo are set to grace our midfield. Both fiery and demanding - we couldn’t think of a better partnership to anchor the team and drive us forward.
They are also symbolic of the generational impact climate change can have, begging the question - what kind of world do we want to leave behind?
Ben Foster / LM
The conversation around climate change can be daunting and disheartening. But it must be championed with passion, hope and encouragement.
That’s why Ben Foster is our Left Midfielder. With an infectious passion for life, Watford’s Number 1 and the Cycling GK is set to bring the positive vibes as we play for a better world. He’s got a mean left foot too!Andre Blake / RW
Jamaica’s No. 1 Andre Blake is a player paving his own path. He was the first Jamaican football player to win the Golden Glove for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and remains one of the best goalkeepers in the MLS. That’s why he’s our Right Winger.
His home country is also setting the standard with Jamaica becoming the first Caribbean country to submit a tougher climate action plan to the UN as they face increasing risk from rising sea levels, drought and more intense hurricanes.
Mat Ryan / LW
Australia’s very own Mat Ryan steps in at Left Wing for the Save the Planet XI. Representing PARK’s home country and base, Australia is currently grappling with extreme floods across several states.
And with research projecting more heavy rainfall and extreme fire weather well into the future, we need to begin dealing with the climate crisis at its source - and that’s eliminating our carbon emissions.
Alisson / ST
Do you remember when Alisson scored that header in the last second of the game to secure Liverpool the win?
That’s why he’s leading the line for the PARK XI.
Senegal’s No. 1 and one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Edouard Mendy makes our squad as the back up goalkeeper.
Hailing from West Africa, climate change in the region is expected to result in coastal erosion and decreases in rainfall by a further 20%, leading to crop failures and food shortages in agricultural areas, aggravated by further desertification in the east of the country as the Sahara expands.
Mohammed Al Owais
One of the best goalkeepers from the Middle East, Mohamed Al Owais will be ready to provide cover for our defence.
The Middle East is warming at twice the global average and by 2050 will be 4 degrees Celsius warmer as compared with the 1.5 degree mark that scientists have prescribed to save humanity.
Lining up in defence for our Save the Planet squad, Thomas Glover is repping PARK’s home city - Melbourne - as Melbourne City’s first team goalkeeper.
And the climate crisis is right on our doorstep here in Melbourne. We’ve recently experienced hotter days, with on average 11 days greater than 35 degrees. By 2050 we will experience an average 16 days greater than 35 degrees.
In short, it’s gonna be F*ckin hot.
You can’t have a squad dedicated to saving the planet without the goalkeeper of Forest Green Rovers. 1st team keeper Luke McGee will line up as a midfielder for our squad over the next week - but is a vegan professional player for the world’s first carbon neutral soccer club.
Who better to have in the squad for a world first activation like this one?
Akihiro Hayashi is one of the J Leagues best. And with our PARK SSC JAPAN family over in Tokyo, FC Tokyo’s number one brings us together.
This time though, Akihiro will be a midfielder in our squad - helping us shed light on climate change across Asia. Especially as Japan's climate changes there will be an increase in the likelihood of more intense and frequent extreme weather events like the Kyushu floods in 2021.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
The best goalkeeper in the Indian Super League is now part of PARK’s Save the Planet XI. But this time, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be ditching the gloves and racing up and down the wing.
A great representative for India, there is no one better to help us shed light on the impacts of climate change in South Asia. Under 4°C warming, the west coast and southern India are projected to shift to new, high-temperatures. This will also result in extremely wet monsoon seasons.
Touted to be the future Ireland number 1 and Man City number 1, Gavin Bazunu is one for the future. In our squad, he’ll get games up top, hopefully bagging a few goals too!
Tall, rangy and possessing a commanding presence, Gavin represents the next generation of leaders and changemakers. Our planet needs them.
Manager - Patrick Vieira
The enforcer in his prime, Patrick Viera is known for breaking up play and snuffing out attacks. But as a manager, he has transformed Crystal Palace with fresh ideas and fearless abandon.And that approach is required to tackle climate change - unafraid, dynamic and purposeful.
A celebration of football’s simplicity – globetrotter, multilinguist and photographer Brian Hodges sits down with us to talk about the Odilo Lawiny project and what he learnt about the power of football.
In anticipation of the United Nation's Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, this is football for the planet.
Right now, 1% of the world is a barely liveable hot zone. By 2070, that number could go up to 19%.
I will never forget wading through the Tonlé Sap in Cambodia, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The lake's mere expanse is impressive enough, but the local village suspended on stilts is a sight to behold in its own right. Indeed, the longer I spent there, the more I came to appreciate the loving relationship the people had with water.
During monsoon season, usually between May and November, rains cover the country bringing with it “80% of their annual precipitation.” When the Tonlé Sap inevitably fills with water, rich nutrients begin to flow, necessitating the healthy growth of local flora and fauna. In turn, Cambodian farmers and fishermen rely on this natural rhythm to till the land and catch what they need.The lake was central to Cambodian life.
However, this natural rhythm is becoming increasingly less reliable. According to the United Nations Development Programme, climate change is affecting Cambodia in dramatic ways. There are rising temperatures and the delaying of monsoon season to contend with. Floods and droughts are also increasing in both their frequency and intensity.“The impact on already vulnerable rural households can be ruinous, destroying or reducing the yield of crops and household income, tipping some into unmanageable debt and poverty.”Sadly, this is a pattern that is becoming more and more prevalent across the globe.In July this year, the Pakistani city of Jacobabad, recorded temperatures over 52 degrees. Moriah Prescia, writer at Climate Refugees, cited expert warnings outlining how persistent high temperatures “for more than a few hours...could result in organ failure or even death.” Pulling back, the impacts of climate change on Southeast Asia have caused more than eight million people to move “toward the Middle East, Europe and North America.”Across the Sahel region in Africa, Solidarités International highlighted that temperatures are rising “1.5 times faster than in the rest of the world...Under the combined effect of drought and floods, land is deteriorating and losing its fertility. Insufficient rain-fed irrigation means that crops fail or are destroyed, while livestock struggle to find water for drinking and sufficient pasture.”Two out of three people in the Sahel region depend on agriculture and livestock as their livelihoods. Climate refugees are also beginning to sprawl across the Americas too. The New York Timesv outline that climate migration will increase every single year as the climate changes. As it stands, 5% of migrants are “driven primarily by climate.”“If governments take modest action to reduce climate emissions, about 680,000 climate migrants might move from Central America and Mexico to the United States between now and 2050.”“In the most extreme climate scenarios, more than 30 million migrants would head toward the U.S. border over the course of the next 30 years.”All up, natural disasters have caused more than “23 million people a year to relocate over the past decade,” according to the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate Report. The numbers don’t make for easy reading. But the relationship, undeniable.People and the planet are inextricably linked.I cast my mind back to the people I met at the Tonlé Sap. A fisherman told me that just having enough for the next day was all that mattered. His optimism has stuck with me ever since. But sadly, as our climate becomes more unpredictable so does his ability to live within his means.
Solving this crisis, and mitigating the human costs that come with it are challenging in and of itself. It will require coordinated action, legal transformation and in some instances, a little bit of goodwill. But it can, and I believe, it will be done.Yes, the numbers and the reality they paint can be disheartening.But, you have more power to affect change than you realise.Your voice.Your votes.Your choices.It all adds up to a better and brighter future.Football can change the world.