10 Similarities in Soccer and Architecture

Pickup Soccer Game

Pickup Soccer Game

It isn’t often we celebrate a World Cup final! As a lifelong soccer and architecture fan, today is a great opportunity for me to draw some interesting comparisons between the two.

  1. Coordination is difficult but effective – Helping a team work together takes considerable effort. The communication, logistics, planning, and information behind the scenes look invisible on the big day, but many years go in to a winning conclusion.
  2. Training takes years – Great soccer players begin when they can walk to maximize the 20 years following for training. Likewise, most architects have at least 10 years of training before they are licensed, but many of us have been hammering things together since grade school.
  3. Team effort is more potent than any one team member – It takes a strong group of players working together to produce a victory just as a strong project team produces a winning building. Although one star or starchitect may get the credit, pros know that the supporting roles make it possible. No weaknesses can exist for a truly successful project.
  4. Roles are diverse but necessary – Futbol has a manager, trainers, strikers, attacking and holding mids, a center “D,” flanking wings and backs, and goalkeepers. Design teams need architects, engineers, authorities, reviewers, interior designers, landscape architects, contractors, and subcontractors. In either case, if not all roles are strong or represented, the others have to pick up the slack!
  5. Expertise must be expansive – Kicking the ball is just the beginning of the game. It is knowing subtleties that carries teams to success. From looking off defenders and dropping a long through ball, to identifying potential site hazards on first walk through and noticing a non-conforming detail—seeing what’s missing is just as important as what is wrong.
  6. Planning for the site can’t be ignored – Understanding the impact of field or site conditions can be the difference between a win or a blowout. It’s a great place to start, and good design teams do a site analysis the same way a good manager plans for a potentially wet field that changes the speed and ball handling of the game.
  7. Effective tools make hard work productive – Players adopt all sorts of equipment to assist their playing styles, from shinguard height, cleat distribution, and boot cover texture. Although architects can potentially use all sorts of tools to assist, many, like an experienced pro player, rely on just a few effective ones to apply their seasoned experience.
  8. Preparation and planning leads to success – Getting the tactics and detailed plan right at the beginning reduces a lot of headaches later on. But…
  9. Big changes can happen in the middle – Good managers and architects are flexible when conditions and plans change due to injury or design change. In fact, spotting these possibilities early might just be the tactic that wins the game.
  10. Sometimes the outcome hinges on just one decision – Despite 90 minutes of play, a lone goal can win a game in a single instance of creativity or skill. Effective architects, like great strikers, are those that find a rare opportunity to turn a limitation into a winner!

What did I miss? Please share below!

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