As a former player, current fan, and active supporter (Whitecaps Football Club), I can say I love the sport of soccer and therefore often take time for introspection to learn from the beautiful game.  My soccer lessons started at a very early age and continue today.  At the age of five, I will always remember going to a ‘so called’ organized soccer pick up and leaving with the pitch with 10 new friends and my mom starting a club team that ended up dominating most of the Okangan soccer ranks for the years to come; Lesson 1…play to win!  At age 12 I had recently moved to Vancouver and tried out for the premier select team and learned the soccer on the coast conflicted with my competitive alpine skiing; Lesson 2…you have to make the tough decisions to win … I chose alpine skiing.  Fast forward to the age of 21 when I was awarded an NCAA Alpine Ski scholarship with the University of Denver (tough decision paid offJ) and good fortune strikes again for I asked if I could try out for the Varsity Soccer team; Lesson 3…make your good fortune and ask for what you want…I made the team!    

So while these are just a few of my personal experiences in soccer (many more to share) I wanted to also highlight some of the lessons from FIFA World Cup 2014; one of the greatest events for it captures / engages millions and millions of people all over the world.  Here are my top three to date:   

Lesson 1:  Want to Win, Take Risks.  WC2014 has demonstrated this perfectly.  Just look at Messi and Ronaldo for in the dying minutes of games in the group stage those both risk taking mentality created goals. 

Lesson 2: Leader makes the Difference.  Managers like Jurgen Klinsmann have not only built out a strategy which they are executing beautifully, he has been able to do this because of the following leadership fundamentals: a) Power of Team, soccer is a team sport and he has built a world class team b) Make Bold Moves, be ready to feel the heat of the analysts and critics c) Expect the unexpected, Jurgen aspires for the ultimate compliment  as a leader and that is seeing his players achieve more than they even thought possible!

Lesson 3:  Arrogance is not your friend.  People may debate me here; however, I still believe Spain is the best soccer team in the world and I believe they were unfortunate. They feel under the curse of over confidence and the hardest task, winning time and time again.  If you look at the winningest people, teams and companies that were able to achieve long term success, they focused on the winning attitude and desperation that got them their first win and kept that DNA throughout. 

Hope you enjoyed my lessons learned and stay tuned for more,

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  1. Julie Barrier

    Nice post Jayme! My own personal takeaway from this story: Confidence breeds winning (and winning breeds confidence). But overconfidence breeds arrogance which kills! One should never get too comfortable — whether it be in sports, in business, in relationships, etc. It results in a losing scenario and lots of unhappy, disappointed people.

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  2. Jayme Smithers Post author

    You are very wise Julie; 100% agree with your comments and thanks for taking the time.  I am sure you have similar lessons given your pusuit of excellence in Tennis!  Go Team USA! 

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