Right to Dream
We’re a growing community of football academies and professional football clubs spread across the globe, all sharing a common goal of empowering young talents through football, education, and character development. From Ghana to Denmark, and from Egypt to the United States, our academies and clubs have been offering unique development opportunities for the next generation of footballers and leaders.
We are dedicated to expanding people’s understanding of excellence through football. And we believe that every talent deserves a fair shot at pursuing their dreams, whatever they may be.
That’s why we’ve created a holistic environment that blends in elite football training with world-class education and character development, allowing our student-athletes to develop not just as elite footballers, but as leaders and changemakers who will make a positive impact on their communities and beyond.
EXCELLENCE CAN BE FOUND ANYWHERE
None of us are born excellent. It’s earned through disciplined effort and character building. It requires grit, passion, lifelong learning, and commitment. It may also require sacrifice, failure, and heartbreaking disappointment now and then. Each of these things is possible in any human being. So, with a dose of talent and the right amount of love and investment, we believe that excellence can come from anyone and anywhere. What kind of excellence a person develops is an individual journey, it may be found in the classroom, on the pitch, or beyond. But nothing about excellence says it is unavailable to people who came from humble beginnings. And so, we cast our net wide for talented kids and build the methods to help every Right to Dream person express their excellence.
LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS
When colonizers went to the rest of the world, they went with narrow minds and short-sightedness, seeing what they could gain economically but missing much of the cultural richness, resilience and success that already existed. Privilege can make us blind, sticking with the status quo and the obvious solutions, sometimes not caring enough to get past ‘well that’s just how it is’.
But there are many lessons on success to be learned from those people who have built their resilience on the edges and in the margins of life, who know how to adapt and thrive in any conditions. Today, we take a very different perspective, recognizing the richness of creativity and ingenuity in many people and places. Lessons in character, leadership and culture flow both ways between our African academies and our European clubs, our youth players and our wise elders, our women and men, boys and girls, and between RTD and the community.
WORK WITH PURPOSE
The lifelong process of developing an identity that is true to your deepest values is part of the equation for a successful life. But it’s not enough just to know who you are and what you care about – you have to ‘walk your talk’ by living and working according to your purpose. It doesn’t happen automatically and it doesn’t happen overnight. But once you feel a sense of purpose, it becomes your benchmark for excellence, professionally and personally.
We aim to cultivate purpose in every Right to Dream person. For us, it’s not just about winning on the pitch or winning for yourself. It’s about using your success to give back to the world around you and the communities that raised you. It’s about using success to create a positive legacy in society. But most importantly it is about expecting to invest in building platforms for others to launch their own dreams. This is where we find our fulfillment.
ROCK THE BOAT
Football is a mirror to society in some ways. A little glimpse into who we are, what we care about, and our character. It is touted as the ‘great leveler’ and ‘a democracy for talent’. But the truth is, football, like society, doesn’t work for half of the world. And that has not much to do with skill and everything to do with opportunity. Yet, the intense love of the game is the same for the 10-year-old boy in Accra, the girl in Kabul, and the kid in Copenhagen or London. We believe they each have the same right to dream of a life full of opportunities that brings them success and fulfillment.
That belief inspires us to rock the boat, disrupt and create a new normal. We want to challenge the industry to see differently by playing young teams and giving fresh chances, we want to burst the bubbles of football insularity, inequality, and elitism alongside organisations like common goal and show what football excellence can look like off the pitch, and we want to inspire football people everywhere to demand more.
EXPAND THE DREAM
Football is central to Right to Dream, but football excellence isn’t the end of our dream. We know that those people who can make it as professional footballers are rare. It is tough, competitive, and also involves luck. So is a world-class education at a top university. When we scout a talented young person for our academies, we know that the challenge ahead is not easy. But we don’t squash the dream, we expand it.
We invest for at least five years in the broad development of every child who comes to a Right to Dream academy. This means we aspire to help them to grow as global citizens, as academically capable students, and as footballers. Even though our football success rates are very high, we see Right to Dream as a School of Life where we encourage each young person to become the best version of themselves.
We are as thrilled when someone wins a Robotics championship or gets a scholarship to a great school, as we are when they score a goal or get a contract with FC Nordsjælland. We are as proud of students and footballers using their voices on issues they care about as we are of their performance on the pitch. It takes time to grow into potential, to be a leader, and so we stick with them and offer long-term commitments that genuinely create the opportunity for transformation. It is all about serving the dream.
FOOTBALL IS A STORY OF HUMANITY
We believe in humankind. We see examples everyday of the extraordinary capabilities, character, and courage of human beings, both superstars and unsung heroes, and football helps us see those examples. At its best, the game makes us proud of each other, creates joy, solidarity, wellbeing, and connection. It reminds us of what will always be common between us: our human spirit.
For us, to be ‘elite’ or the best is about finding the deepest excellence you have in your bones as a human being and expressing it. When we share inspirational and aspirational stories of teamwork and the human spirit, of the exceptional journeys to leadership, success, and giving back that Right to Dream people can experience through football, we are also sharing stories of who we all are at our best.
THRIVING IN ALL AREAS
It isn’t enough to have a system where one group consistently thrives but others are left on the sidelines, excluded or ignored. No system is truly thriving if it is unbalanced. In our Right to Dream system, we value each contributor equally. Our women and girls teams won’t be treated as add-ons to a male-centric program, they will lead equally. Our European players won’t automatically mentor our African academy graduates, it may be the other way around. Equity is a mindset and it keeps us resilient.
For our ‘ecosystem of opportunities’ to thrive, it also has to be sustainable. It means our decisions are built on what’s right for the whole group, not just for one part of it. It means we will invest in trusting relationships and long-term successes, not quick transactions and short-term wins. And it means that we will stay mindful of our impact on the community and the environment in our operations.
RESPECTING FOOTBALL’S SOUL
Fans – Whether they are pulling on their shorts as a 5-year-old kid on a dust pitch in Ghana, on the pitch as a professional player, in the stands just like their grandparents were before them, on the sidelines in driving rain cheering on their daughter in her debut game, in the dugout for a nail-biting final, in front of the TV or in the community, football is made of fans. They understand the passion. They bring togetherness, dedication, and joy. They know the struggle. They are the heart of this game.
Some say football is just entertainment. Just another business. But we know that football has a soul. It creates opportunity and it brings love. It can’t be sold, traded, over-glamourized, over-specialized or over-complicated if it takes away the soul of the game. This is part of the game’s excellence. We never forget that it is a game about people, for people.