From the Field to the Shop: Building Camaraderie, Leadership through Soccer

Story Number: NNS180509-13Release Date: 5/9/2018 1:55:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jamin A. Gordon, USS George Washington (CVN 73) Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Team sports are something that many people have participated in since a young age. These sports are known to bring people out of their comfort zone, form new friendships and develop leadership skills. These fundamental elements still apply to team sports even into adulthood.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington's (CVN 73) soccer team builds camaraderie and leadership skills.

"Being on the soccer team builds camaraderie by introducing everyone to new faces and being able to play soccer with them," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Fernando Blanco, the team captain of George Washington's soccer team. "Team chemistry is one of the biggest things that can either make or break a soccer team because it's not easy meeting someone for the first time and trying to form the chemistry right away. Luckily for our team, we were able to overcome the diversity through multiple practices and learn how each other plays soccer. We've also learned to work together and keep our composure as a team whether we win or lose."

In addition to camaraderie, soccer has also played a role in developing leadership skills both on and off the field.

"Being on the team has impacted has helped me work better with my co-workers by helping me learn that everyone learns in a different way," said Blanco. "I can't teach everyone how to do their job just by telling them how and expecting them to know it. Some people need more than just hearing how to do something, whether its visual learning, hands-on learning, or maybe they need something to read while you talk. The fact is, everyone learns in a different way and you must be versatile in how you teach."

Along with developing leadership skills, playing on the team has helped improve communication skills for some players.

"Being a yeoman, I work with everyone in the command," said Yeoman 3rd Class Lynnett Evans, a member of George Washington's soccer team. "With that being said, being on the soccer team helps me professionally because I'm interacting with Sailors of all ages, rates and ranks. It allows me to be more experienced with working and communicating with others."

Soccer, like many sports, teaches valuable life skills that not only help when the team wins, but also when they lose. In the tough times, it is important to have a strong leader that will keep the team motivated.

George Washington's soccer team competed against the Screwtops of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123, April 26. The first half of the game presented some challenges, but Blanco didn't let these challenges bring his team down.

"After a tough first half, as the team captain, you must be able to handle all the adversity thrown at you during the game, and keep your composure," said Blanco. "At half time, I like to help motivate the team by talking to my teammates individually and tell them what I saw and how they could improve something or tell them what I liked about their playing when they did something good, and to keep the hard work up for another 45 minutes."

Thanks to the perseverance of the team, and the motivating words of the team lead, George Washington won their game against the Screwtops with a final score of nine to two.

Teamwork plays a huge part in sports, whether they win or lose, and George Washington's team proved that despite a rough beginning, a win is always possible.

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