Daniel Jang, founder of the World Cup Mate is coming up to ‘veteran’ status as a volunteer for the world cup. Well maybe I’m exaggerating a little here. However, he has attended the last couple, and is now looking forward to heading back to South Africa next month for the 2010 World Cup. In 2009 Daniel had a brain wave to develop a social networking site dedicated to the world cup. The website ‘World Cup Mate‘ allows people to log in using their twitter account, and people can post messages, photos, videos, and other items in a similar fashion to facebook. I asked Daniel to tell me some more about this.
Q. What year did you first attend a world cup?
A. 2002 in Korea as a volunteer and that’s when my volunteer journey started.
Q. What was it about your experience of a volunteer made you want to do it again?
A. Making friends, meeting people from all over the world, and sharing the same passion in football. Enjoying the world cup at a closer setting. Volunteering at a global event. Multitude of benefits. That’s why I continued. In 2006, Germany I applied again, and then luckily I became a volunteer again and I did my second volunteering with the world cup. And after those two experiences it left a very strong impression about that event and the potential of what it can do to bring people together.
Q. With the world cup, some people hear English supporters and football and they stereotypcially associate the two with hooliganism? This image almost contradicts what you have said above, or the English team supporters the exception to that?
A. In any sport or any event there are always a group of people who take things in the wrong way, eg. hooliganism, howeve the majority of people I came across were really joyful and had a respect for others. I think it is what you do with the event. It is a tool for people who share the same passion can come together and do things. Whereas hooliganism is an example of people taking it the other way, but they are certainly not the majority.
Q. What inspired you to create the website ‘World Cup Mate’?
A. After those two incredible experiences, I was again fortunate to go and volunteer for the world cup for the third time, I thought in addition to volunteering, I felt if I could do something even further to help people enjoy the world cup through the use of social networking site like facebook, and it also provides a platform by which volutneers can also connect with each other irrespective of the location of their assignment. And fans from all over the world can share their passion for football through photos, blogs, tweets, videos, and a classified tool to buy and sell football stuff, organise accommodation, get groups together to watch matches in their area, or simply socialise and make new friends.
Q. Great. Now, I was going to ask you why should someone join up, but I think you’ve really answered that already in my previous question?
A. It is the social networking site dedicated to the FIFA world cup fans. Bascially the site is all about you, not just about simply football results. It is about you sharing your passion, you shape up the site while making use of all the tools available on the site as described above.
Q. Thank you for your time Daniel. Before you go, is there anything else you would like to say?
A. Yes, please join in, share your journey with the world. From this site, the future world cup blogging legend will be born, and also our site is a charity work, and it is funded entirely through the donations of its supporters and any donation that exceeds the running of the website will be going directly to the children and football development project in Africa (charity partnership sought). The aim of the website is to brighten up the lives of people, both the users and non users. It is a website with dual purpose to assist football fans to share their passion and make new friends and to help less privileged children to have a chance to develop through football. Everyone wins.