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Bringing people together through football


Rus Smith, Football Coaching and Performance Lecturer, blogs about how football can bring people together as the FIFA World Cup 2022 kicks off.

The World Cup of football is here and making the most of the wider values of the World Cup by having the world cultures, teams and fans together can be a great chance to create conversation.

How can football engage to develop pride, and happiness and share moments of connection and be something that can be embedded across all lessons taught by the football and wider staffing during the tournament?

A live example is at the moment tactical trends module for second year students has been planned in line with opportunities to discuss with students the examples of formations effectiveness which can be embedded into their assignment. This assignment specifically looks at the on-pitch tactical trends in 11 v11 football that can be an influence on what we see in the Premier League or even lower down in the football pyramid in such clubs as Stourbridge or Bilston Town in the months to follow.

Wider societal conversations will also arise to this device World Cup that can impact the view on issues that we can talk about with our students.

Is it the right place to have a world cup? Will England fail to succeed or thrive in what is the first Winter World Cup ever or will there be moments of brilliance that bring people together? All of these are possibilities and talking points that can bring the relationships of students together alongside our staff.

The game of football has no colour, race, religion or language barrier and in fact, the beautiful game is what and a huge part of why the Black Country is on the map. This month we want to embrace this and the values of football for all to engage even if playing at WLV Sport or having a discussion of what went on the pitch the day before.

In my life, the World Cup has created a long-lasting legacy with moments such as Paul Gascoigne's tears, Roger Milla’s dance, David Beckham’s kick-out red card, Zidane’s Headbutt, Frank Lampard’s over the line ruled out goal or more recently, England winning their first penalty shootout versus Colombia.  All those feelings and memories join up and the opportunity now with a World Cup happening can create new touch points to reminisce, learn and teach from, with our current students.

So, whether it’s in the corridor, canteen, classroom, or bus the World Cup and football can bring us together with connection and conversation. As the above states, culturally or tactically it can be a learning together opportunity and one that the Football Coaching and performance students will embrace.

Is it coming home? We hope so. Can we mirror the Lionesses? Only time will tell.

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