In soccer, like most sports, there are many ways to approach a game. A wide spectrum of tactics and play styles are available, and coaches like to develop their own philosophy about the game. They are often determined to select a style of play that will both define them and their team. All the time hoping and praying that their particular brand of soccer will bring success. But here’s what is interesting: seldom do you find a style of play that highlights just an individual player. Usually teamwork is the thing that is both emphasized and regarded in high esteem.
There have been several “soccer philosophies” throughout the years. A team from England called Wimbledon had a meteoric rise from non-league soccer to winning the oldest domestic cup competition in the world—the F.A. Cup. Their philosophy was what we call the “long ball.” Simply thump the ball up field to your attacker and then bust a gut trying to support him. It often caused chaos, but that was often the key to its effectiveness. In the mid-90’s Everton FC had a rather low-skilled squad, but with plenty of heart. Managed by Joe Royle, this team fought for each other, and were affectionately labeled “The Dogs of War”. This ethos of teamwork characterized the entire team and resulted in them claiming the F.A. Cup in 1995. And then we have what is probably the greatest soccer style—when executed correctly—the short quick passing along the ground. Whether that is Brian Clough’steams of the 70’s that believed the “ball travels faster than the man” or the Johan Cruyff inspired Barcelona of the new millennium with their “Tiki-Taka” one touch soccer. When a team is moving the ball along the ground at pace, it is poetry in motion. Not to mention expending less manpower because you are playing smarter rather than harder.
All these strategies about good game play remind me of what King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
Similar to the previously mentioned soccer tactics, we should endeavor to not work in silos. When we are determined to achieve a result by our own effort, while rejecting the help of others, we place ourselves in a poor position. Like the “Dogs of War,” the power in supporting teammates, friends or colleagues produces unbelievable victories. We can help each other through some difficult circumstances and pick each other up when we fall. It is the same with “Tiki-Taka” play style. You can conserve so much energy, last longer, go further and finish stronger. It is like that old African proverb,
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Teamwork is of vital importance in our Christian walk. We were not designed to be alone or work alone. We cannot succeed as the lone star of the team—we must work together.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
As you are parenting or mentoring a child to be a great team player, remind them that teamwork requires people to work cooperatively with others towards a shared purpose.
- Talk about how great it feels to be a part of a team, and how upsetting it is to be excluded. Then encourage your child to look for those who are often left out and make sure they are invited.
- Being competitive is admirable, but being a great sport and having a positive attitude in any situation is a great way to be a good witness to teammates and onlookers.
- Practice teaming up by working on a project together at home—it could be artwork that everyone contributes to, planting a garden or coming up with a service project.
- Play a board game in teams.
- Organize a friendly game in your yard or park and have a chat beforehand on what it takes to be a good team and how each player can achieve excellent teamwork. Then extol it when you see it!
**This was a guest blog post from the OneHope Blog. To see more excellent posts on raising kids to be strong in the Word of God, visit; Experience the Story