Football Can Unite the World

Football Can Unite the World

connected the world. As our world continues to be polarized by extreme views and beliefs, football can mend our deflated hearts and hope. The love of the game has broken many boundaries in the past, and we must utilize football to change the narrative from hate to love. More than anytime in our human history, we need coaches, players, administrators, and fans to promote peace, unity and tolerance in every dialogue. We need to speak and practice against violence. All people are born equal, may live different lives, but they share common dreams on our beloved planet.

 

I have lived and worked in three continents in my lifetime, and I have witnessed first hand football can bring the best and the worst in people. At this moment in time, we need football to be at its very best. The beautiful game must set the example of equality, transparency, and tolerance- Equality regardless of race, nationality and gender, financial transparency at all levels, and tolerance for all religious beliefs and differences.

 

After the senseless acts of violence against innocent people in Paris and Brussels, our sport has a unique opportunity to show leadership with compassion and intelligence. With European championship held this summer in France, we have a platform to unite Europe with the rest of the world watching.

 

John Lennon said it best, “Imagine all the people…Living life in peace…You may say I’m a dreamer…But I’m not the only one…I hope someday you’ll join us…And the world will be as one“

 

One game, one love, on one planet…

 

With Great Affection,

 

Afshin Ghotbi

Soccer Made in Germany, Local Coaches in a Global League

Soccer Made in Germany, Local Coaches in a Global League

I still can remember staying awake through the night in the early 70’s to watch Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Monchengladbach on my small black and white television set. One hand on the antenna to keep the picture clear and both eyes glued to screen to watch every action. Franz Beckenbauer’s elegance, Berti Vogts hardness, and Sepp Maier long pants and oversized gloves are still vivid in my imagination. Later in my early teens, Tobby Charles’ voice kept “soccer made in Germany” alive in Southern California with weekly shows. It was the only game on the tube at the time broadcasted from Europe with regularity in the United States.

I spent almost a month during the World Cup 2006 in Germany representing the Korean national team as a coach. The 2006 World Cup ignited the German national pride. The German flags and colors draped homes, businesses and communities. The World Cup 2006 with renovated stadiums, ideology and style awakened a giant and kicked-off a new golden era.

Almost a decade later, Germany was crowned as World Champions. The game has transformed on all levels from the bottom up. The financial investment in building one of the most organized and supported leagues has made the Bundesliga arguably one of the best professional sport leagues in the world.

Bundesliga presently is competing with the top players in the world with the Premier League and La Liga. However with the exception of Bayern Munich and a few clubs, all divisions of Bundesliga showcase only German coaches.

The transformation of the global game cannot stop here, if Germany wants to continue evolving as a leader in football. Variation of tactical priorities, personalities, and playing styles will showcase a more international narrative and image attracting a wider range of audiences around the globe. England’s Premier League foreign managers have arguably made the biggest contribution to the development, growth and the popularity of EPL around the world.

The argument of localism vs globalism is unavoidable, and I hope we live in a planet that quality, experience and merit will be the yardstick, not nationality.

With Great Affection,

Afshin Ghotbi

Lasting Impression

Lasting Impression

I have seen much in my career working across the globe, but my short experience with the people and players of Curacao will leave a lasting impression in my memories. Words will never describe accurately the love and the feeling amongst the players. The sounds and sights of my experience were only matched by the colors of the Caribbean’s landscape. The bus ride was out of a MTV music video with reggae sounds tickling your senses. The emotions in the locker room were as spiritual and charged as I have experienced in the World Cup Finals. The players gave their all, and I am proud to have worked with them for this short period, one week to be exact.

 

 

The two losses to El Salvador with identical 0-1 results did not define the performances or the quality of the Curacao team. At the end, the difference had more to do with the international experience of the El Salvadorian players vs Curacao’s. It takes several years to truly build a national team capable of massive results. Patrick Kluivert may have fallen short in achieving his dream, but he certainly awakened the islands. I leave sad knowing I joined the party too late to influence the results, but I will always remember my short football journey to Curacao.

 

With Great Affection,

Afshin Ghotbi

Living A Dream!, Curacao 2 Russia

Living A Dream!, Curacao 2 Russia

My love for the game continues to take me to far away places for challenging projects. A new journey began today on the beautiful island of Curacao in the Caribbean.

 

I will be assisting legendary former Dutch striker, Patrick Kluivert, to guide Curacao to the Semi-Final stage of World Cup 2018 in the CONCACAF region. We will face El Salvador on September 4 and 8th in the home and away series.

 

Curacao may not have a long and accomplished football history, but sights and sounds of the Caribbean island are breathtaking. The people’s smile and kindness are embracing. And this team has the personalities and potential of a Walt Disney movie.

 

Kluivert’s charisma, confidence and energy have inspired the players to reach already the furthest stage of the World Cup Qualifiers by eliminating Cuba. With most of the players’ football education in Europe, especially Netherlands, the best is still to come.

 

I look forward to sharing with you more incredible stories in the coming days, and I hope we can bring joy to the people of Curacao.

 

With a Big Island Smile,

Afshin Ghotbi

I will be back!

I will be back!

Football has a funny way of steering us to unknown directions and destinations. One moment you are in the full stadium with cheering fans, and the next the lights and sounds of the stadium are a distant memory. One moment the pressure of getting results push stress levels above and beyond human limitations, and the next you actually have the time to enjoy simple pleasures of life.

 

As the project at Shimizu S-Pulse came to an unexpected conclusion, I entered a surprising rewarding period in my life. After a life long quest to be the best, to bring out the best of the people around me, to produce great performances and results I never thought a period of reflection can be so rewarding. In a dark moment in my professional life, I have found a light of wisdom, hope and humility. I have realized and appreciated even more my fortunes and blessings. My family, friends, and the love of the game have been my source of inspiration. My true supporters have stood strong by me encouraging me with their prayers and messages, while others have faded away. In the last 5 months, I have traveled to Seoul, Los Angeles, Houston, Doha, and Dubai. I met family, friends and colleagues I have missed for years, and I have made new ones I will cherish. Even after 50 years, there is so much to learn and look forward to.

 

I start the New Year with great anticipation beaming with confidence, energy and wisdom. Whether at the club or international level, I intend to succeed and share with you the triumph and memories. I am always grateful to you for your heart felt love, support and encouragement.

 

With Great Affection,

Afshin Ghotbi

Good-Bye Shizuoka!

Good-Bye Shizuoka!

Good-Bye Shizuoka,

 

Three and half year has come to an abrupt end. I feel an enormous pain to part with my staff, players, and supporters who I considered family. I poured my heart and soul, blood and sweat into the Shimizu S-Pulse. The results did not always illustrate the progress we made, but the journey inspired a new generation. I have no regrets; only wonderful memories etched in my thoughts and heart forever. I would like to express my deepest appreciation for your love, devotion, and support. Thank you for your everlasting cheers. I will remember you forever. Good-Bye Shizuoka.

 

Afshin Ghotbi

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