You can’t win all the time. It’s just not possible. Even the all-conquering Barcelona team of today still lose games sometimes. But losing a game doesn’t matter in the long term – it’s how you react to that defeat and what you take from it that really matter.
“I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.”
Muhammad Ali, US boxer – “The Greatest” and arguably most iconic sportsman of all time (b.1942)
However, sportsmanship doesn’t only mean taking defeat with dignity. It applies equally to how you conduct yourself when you win. How you conduct yourself on the pitch at all times. How you conduct yourself off the pitch. Putting the true values of the beautiful game ahead of the need to win.
We’re not saying that winning isn’t important or that we don’t play to win. It is and we do. We just believe that winning is only a small part of what football’s really all about.
Discipline doesn’t only mean being polite and respectful to the referee, or not committing fouls. It also means self-discipline – that is pushing yourself hard and making sure you’re the best you can possibly be. Not quitting. Working hard for the whole game. Working hard in every training session. Making sure you don’t let your teammates down. Making sure you play that simple pass to your teammate who’s in a better position to score than you. Rising to meet new challenges.
“You will go through tough times; it’s about getting through them.”
David Beckham, ex-England captain and global sporting icon (b.1975)
David Beckham is a great example of what you can achieve with self-discipline. Without being the most naturally gifted footballer, he turned himself into one of the world’s finest and most effective players through hard work and discipline, winning numerous trophies and 115 England caps along the way.
“David practiced with a discipline to achieve an accuracy that other players wouldn’t care about.”
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on David Beckham
Fergie doesn’t usually get it wrong. Discipline is crucial if you want to keep 11 players on the pitch and win games, but it’s also just as important if you want to be the best you can possibly be.
Without enjoyment, football is nothing. That’s why we play:
“I have changed nothing; my style of play is still that of a child. I know that above all it is my job and that I should approach it in another way, but one must not lose sight of the fact that football is a game. It is imperative one plays for enjoyment, to be happy. That is what children do and I do the same thing.”
Lionel Messi, the undisputed greatest footballer on the planet and possibly of all time (b.1987)
If playing the game for enjoyment is good enough for Leo, it should be good enough for us. It’s as simple as that.
Respect is one of the cornerstones of sport and of society. Therefore it should play an important part in football and that’s why it’s one of our five values.
“My father is wonderful. He taught me that if you are respectful to everyone you will earn respect.”
Zinedine Zidane, three-time FIFA World Player of the Year (b.1972)
Respect is earned by treating others as you would want them to treat you. Across all levels of St.Peter FC this is something we passionately believe in and is the reason we instil its importance into everybody involved with the club.
We don’t expect respect to only be directed at referees and match officials though – we expect everybody associated with the club to be respectful to teammates, players, coaches, parents, club officials and opponents too.
Be the better person. Treat yourself and everyone around you with respect.
Teamwork is essential to our sport as it is to our club and our lives. If you don’t believe us, see what some of the greatest of all time have said about it:
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
Michael Jordan, ex-NBA star widely considered the greatest of all time (b.1963)
“To be the ultimate team, you must use your body and your mind. Draw up on the resources of your teammates. Choose your steps wisely and you will win. Remember, only teams succeed.”
José Mourinho, two-time Champions League winning manager with Porto and Internazionale (b.1963)
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
Babe Ruth, legendary US baseball player (1895-1948)
“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”
Mia Hamm, female US soccer superstar (b.1972)
At St.Peter FC, we are a team – one team. That means everybody in both the Academy and the main club, from the players and coaches to the parents, club officials and other active members.
We win together and we lose together – as a team.