This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Sam Davy of PARK Social Soccer Co.

Studio Visit

MAN WEEK continues this morning with an introduction to visionary graphic designer and social entrepreneur Sam Davy, the ‘Chief Ball Officer’ at PARK Social Soccer Co.

Together with Tara Montoneri, Sam founded his one-for-one socially conscious soccer brand in late 2015, inspired by his son, and none other than Steve Jobs!

We stopped by Sam’s Elwood home studio to hear more about this incredible passion project!

31st August, 2017

Sam Davy co-founded the socially conscious soccer brand PARK Social Soccer Co. in late 2015. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Prior to this, the British expat worked at Apple, Crumpler and Tennis Australia. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

PARK’s HQ works is Sam’s home studio in Elwood, Melbourne. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The graphic design create all the artwork on the balls, though has some exciting collaborations in the works. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

An inspiration board including photographs of orphaned kids at a children’s home in Uganda, street kids in Sierra Leone and  local team from PARK’s first giving trip to a Lombok area with a ramshackle pitch. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The graphic design creates the artwork for the balls. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘We are bringing soul and meaning to the design of the ball, and kids themselves are really connecting with the ball and the story,’ explains Sam. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The Chief Ball Officer is working on new collections and expanding the product range to include apparel and one-for-one goal keeper gloves (prototype seen here created with with a local glove brand Unbranded, and slated for early 2018). Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Orange soccer balls are from PARK’s season 1 collection, custom pink flower ‘peace ball’ and bespoke gift for the Garma Festival. The balls are manufactured by a partner in China, who Sam is grateful to for taking the chance on his small brand with its atypical idea! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Though he was aware of other inspiring one-for-one initiatives like TOM’s shoes and Thankyou, Sam was really driven by trying to combine the skills, ideas and passions he’d picked up over the years into something that could have a lasting, positive impact. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
Thursday 31st August 2017

‘…a brand that competes on quality and design and helps our kids understand the imbalance of opportunity, whilst helping those kids that really need it,’ – Sam Davy.

‘Ten years ago while I was working as Creative Director at Apple, Steve Jobs called me into a meeting and asked me to explore how Apple, “can do well by doing good”,’ begins Sam Davy. ‘This was the first time I’d contemplated the idea of connecting social awareness with the bottom line. I was fascinated!’

Originally from Yorkshire in the UK, Sam lived in London and San Francisco before making Melbourne his home in 2008. Over the years he worked as Brand Director at Crumpler and Director of Tennis at Tennis Australia, but always kept coming back to that idea that Steve Jobs had planted in his mind.

By October 2015, Sam had ‘eventually connected the dots’, co-founding the socially conscious PARK Social Soccer Co. ‘My son and I were standing, staring blankly at a sea of bland soccer balls in a sports store, looking for a gift for his friend, when he said, “These balls don’t mean anything, my mate’s not into all these global players or teams”,’ recalls Sam. He was struck by the fact that the humble soccer ball appeared to have been hijacked by global brands and turned into meaningless merch.

Later that day as the 41-year-old was looking out into his own backyard dotted with discarded balls, it really hit home that there are kids all over the world who love soccer, but who don’t have the opportunities to play. ‘The idea was born to start a brand that competes on quality and design, and helps our kids understand the imbalance of opportunity, whilst helping those kids that really need it,’ Sam explains.

Through it’s one-sale-for-one-donation model, PARK has currently passed 1,270 balls to disadvantaged children via grassroots charities, individuals and organisations, including Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, Creating Chances in Sydney, The Dreams Alive Foundation in Kenya, Streetsoccer USA, and international initiatives Their Beautiful Game and Orphfund.org. ‘Our partners use the balls in a number of different ways, but all are focussed on using soccer to reach kids and youth, keep them focussed in a positive direction, help teach them life and leadership skills to overcome the everyday hurdles they face,’ says Sam. ‘We focus on supporting refugees and people seeking asylum, equal opportunities for girls (check-out Equal Playing Field), at-risk youth, and abandoned children.’

Breaking into a traditional sporting goods market dominated by the big global brands has been tricky, as has changing peoples’ perceptions of what a soccer ball is and what it can do. The graphic designer currently creates all the artwork for the balls in his home studio in Elwood, and there are some exciting collaborations with amazing artists in the pipeline. For creatives wanting to launch a passion project or social enterprise, Sam advises keeping your idea quite fluid in the early stages, getting lots of advice from those who are doing similar work, but also talking with people from seemingly unrelated fields, as a ‘wild card element’.

Thinking back on the impact this initiative has made, a young boy called John, living in an Orphfund.org supported children’s home in rural Uganda often comes to Sam’s mind. Passionate about the sport, John would try to make ‘soccer balls’ from discarded plastic bags. ‘John arrived at the home with only a small amount of belongings, so when he was given his own new, real soccer ball, it became his prized possession. He is now doing really well at school and is playing soccer in the local team,’ tells Sam. ‘For him to know that a kid on the other side of the world thought about him, and passed him a ball, is a beautiful thing!’

You can support PARK Social Soccer Co. by buying balls from their online store, here, or from the awesome stockists listed on their website. And in case you were wondering, Sam verifies that the positive vibes from a PARK ball WILL inspire you to play your best game!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Dream Job

Nayran Tabiei · Cooking Instructor, Free to Feed

In between guiding a group of receptive young participants through the art of tabouli-tiny parsley chopping, the former Damascene chronicles...
Elle Murrell

Shopping

KIOSK by Georgia Perry

A look inside the illustrator and designer's new Collingwood store, stocking accessories, homewares, stationery and gifts by indie designers...

Studio Visit

Matt and Sahr Willis of yelldesign

An insight into the Melbourne content studio's brilliantly quirky and meticulously crafted output – including their incredible 'Papermeal'...
Elle Murrell

This Week

Gardens

A Modernist Front Garden On Sydney’s North Shore

In an extract from his new book 'The City Gardener', Richard Unsworth shares the Mid-Century Modern garden designed by his practice, Garden
Richard Unsworth
  1 hour ago
2.37

Interiors

YSG Studio Brings 'Afternoon Delight' To This Dreamy Kitchen Design for Laminex

We take a closer look at YSG Studio's stunning new collaboration with Laminex!

On The Market

A Perfectly Preserved Mid-Century Marvel On The Banks Of The Yarra Is On The Market

This architecturally-designed house was built in the 60s and has barely changed since it was last sold in 1968. Did someone say dream home?
Sasha Gattermayr
  9 hours ago

Creative People

The Trailblazing Couple Behind Brisbane's New Indigenous Art Centre

Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey are the entrepreneurial couple behind Brisbane's most exciting new art gallery and retail space!
36.05

Podcast

Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks

Lucy Feagins talks to the legendary designer and artist about building an iconic Australian design brand.

Interiors

An Elevated Take On Old Meets New

A 1950s Brisbane house meets a new addition by designers Wrightson Stewart and architect Barbara Bailey, connected by a transparent breezewa...

Architecture

A Minimalist, Semi-Prefabricated Beach House

Architect Hannah Tribe of Tribe Studio developed a prototype for a partially prefabricated kit home for her own family beach house in Bundee...

Interiors

A Curvaceous + Calm Edwardian Home Renovation

Working within the exisiting footprint, CJH Studio transformed this Melbourne home with smart planning and minimalist interiors.

News

A Lifetime Of Mim Design Projects In One Book!

‘Works’ is a tome celebrating 21 years of Miriam Fanning’s sophisticated interiors + architecture practice.
Sasha Aarons

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

Shopping

A Childrenswear Label That Takes Us Back To The Golden Years - WIN With Goldie + Ace!

Get ready to send the kids back to school in style with the Golden Years collection from Goldie + Ace!

Shopping

The New Ceramics Studio Built On Centuries Of Inherited Knowledge

The debut collection from new ceramics studio House Editions by Claudia Lau brings porcelain bowls, plates and vases in experimental glazes

Architecture

A Grecian-Inspired Update For A California Bungalow

Alcorn Middleton update a 1980s family home with arches, white-washed columns and a inspired by quintessential Santorini architecture.

Architecture

An Elwood Bungalow That Draws From Within

A innovative extension around a circular garden creates an inward focus to this California bungalow extension by Rob Kennon Architects.

Interiors

The Timeless Update Of A 1950s Portsea Beach House

Pipkorn Kilpatrick improve the flow and functionality of this 1956 home originally designed by Robin Boyd, ensuring its legacy remains in ta...

Similar Stories

Dream Job

Nayran Tabiei · Cooking Instructor, Free to Feed

The former Damascene chronicles her long and winding journey to a safe and purposeful present.
Elle Murrell

Shopping

KIOSK by Georgia Perry

A look inside the illustrator and designer's new Collingwood store, stocking accessories, homewares, stationery and gifts by indie designers...

Studio Visit

Matt and Sahr Willis of yelldesign

An insight into the Melbourne content studio's brilliantly quirky and meticulously crafted output – including their incredible 'Papermeal'...
Elle Murrell

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.