2022 has been an incredible year for our Right to Dream family. It’s a year that saw us branch out into new markets, connect with more emerging excellence, perform at the highest level domestically and internationally and experience Ivy League brilliance, and much more. And they’ve all helped us take a step closer toward our four focused ambitions for 2025.
And while the end of the year is a good time to reflect on the past, it’s also a fantastic time to celebrate successes and milestones achieved. So, let’s take a look together on how far we’ve come in 2022.
Increasing Development Opportunities for Young People
One of our most remarkable milestones in 2022 is the establishment of our Egypt Academy. Our newest academy is now up and running in Cairo with 39 talented boys starting their wonderful journeys toward their respective dreams and pathways. It’s following in the footsteps of our Danish Academy and long-standing Ghana Academy which welcomed 23 new students in 2022.
Building an academy isn’t an easy task though. It took months of dynamic planning and talent search – Our scouting team scouted over 35,000 kids across 28 governorates. And our partnership with The Mansour Group has definitely accelerated our expansion plans. But it’s worth all the effort. And it makes our hearts full to see more talents getting fair opportunities to reach their full potential in football, education, and life.
But Egypt won’t be our final destination – We still have a long way to go. We already took the first steps towards expanding our operations in USA. And we’re now closer than ever to extending our academy model to the US – already home to our growing education network. And we can’t wait to connect with more emerging excellence there.
This year, we also stepped up our game when it came to women’s football - an integral part of our RTD journey. We kicked off the year by celebrating our Ghana Academy Graduate Princess joining our women’s team at FCN. It’s a big moment for us - she’s the first RTD Ghana female graduate to become a professional footballer, and we’re sure there’ll be many more to come. All of this follows the exceptional work already being done in our FCN Danish Academy where 8 more players received pro contracts this year.
And it just felt right to extend such opportunities to girls and women in the Egyptian market. So, today, our girls at TUT FC, an Egyptian pro football team recently acquired by RTD, are competing in the Egyptian Women’s Premier League. And while it’s our debut season at the topflight, we’ve big dreams together, including winning the Africa Champions League within the next five years.
Equipping Emerging Excellence for the Journey & Enabling Ongoing Career Pathways
Big dreams are also in the works for our men’s team at FCN – the current Danish Superliga leaders. And while topping the Danish Superliga maybe fantastic – topping the table while fielding the youngest top-tier professional team in the world - with an average age of 22.7 - is just inspiring. Especially when you couple it with the fact that 14 RTD / FCN Academy graduates signed professional contracts in 2022.
It inspires us to keep moving forward and to continue working with the next generation of talent. A generation that’s already carving a wonderful path for itself as our International Academy, which fields students from our Ghana and Denmark academies (and soon Egypt), won the prestigious 2022 Gothia Cup title.
But we know that not all dreams are football shaped. And we’re always supporting our students to follow their dreams on and off the field. Which is why we’re equally proud of our growing number of students studying in US schools and universities (a total of 54 students are currently studying there!) and those who took part in the 2022 Robofest. And we’re bursting with happiness to see our first female graduate, Joy Okonye, join an Ivy League School, as she got into Brown University.
Inspiring Positive Change in Football Industry and Beyond
Our graduates also had their fair share of brilliance this year. And they made the current edition of the FIFA Men’s World Cup extra-special for all members of the RTD family. We got to watch seven of our academy and/or FC Nordsjælland graduates chase their dreams and shine on football’s biggest stage. Mohammed Kudus, Kamaldeen Sulemana, Kamal Sowah, Mikkel Damsgaard, Andreas Skov Olsen, Victor Nelsson, and Mathias Jensen, have all given us a taste of how bright the future may look like.
Connecting with likeminded organizations and individuals has also been important to us this year. Which is why we worked with our extended Right to Dream family at Common Goal to form a new Impact Partnership and launch the Purpose Entrepreneurships. A program fully supported by the Mansour family that seeks to develop methods and practices that maximize the contribution of the football industry to social change. And earlier this year, the first five winners began their two-year incubator journey, supported by a £20k grant each.
And as we told all these stories, and more, we thrived in the digital world too. We hit 50k+ Instagram followers and 500k Youtube views as we shared our dreams and connected with more emerging excellence around the world.
It was an exciting year full of wonderful moments. And all these numbers and stories are a proof of how hard our team has been working and how committed we are to our dream. So, thank you to each and everyone of you – from our family to our community, to our partners, and everyone who have been part of RTD’s incredible journey. Here’s to an even bigger 2023!