Football / soccer has not always been obvious to me.

When I was a little child, I was interested in sports in general. Football / soccer was not the biggest sport but it gained it’s fair share with other team sports like ice hockey and handball, sports that Sweden was very good at at the time.

Here I am, for the first time as a Key Instructor for Gothenburg Football Association.

Here I am, for the first time as a Key Instructor for Gothenburg Football Association.

I was never a great athlete as a child. I had a great difficulty with my body skills and could not get what I had in my brain through my legs. The current Head Coach of the football / soccer team Liverpool FC, Jürgen Klopp, once said that “I was a Division 3-player in my legs, but I had the brain of a Bundesliga Coach”. A quote I can relate to. I have never played at all in any organized league, whether as juvenile or adult. No major merit, in other words.

However, I was always very fascinated about sports and discovered early on that I was more able to stand aside and observe, analyze and come up with conclusions. Every weekend was spent staring at sports until my eyes were formed as squares. When I was 13 I started to discover my leadership skills when I started a local street hockey team consisting of 8- to 10-year olds. Even though I only played a few lessons at a hockey school, it felt natural to me to coach my neighbors’ children to play organized street hockey.

There and then I realized that you do not necessarily need to have a long history of being a great athlete in order to become a good coach. Being a good leader requires completely different skills. Arrigo Sacchi, the legendary italian coach, once said that “I did not know that I must be a horse in order to become a jockey“, another quote I can relate to. Many great coaches were unsuccesful players but managed to be world class when it came to lead teams.

During my teens, it was not as much sport as I found girls and socializing more interesting, but my interest in football / soccer came back to me when I was 21. After all the years of break from the sport, I became hooked again. I read everything I came across.

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What is my big, big goal?
Well, that someday win a World Cup Gold Medal for Sweden, my home country.

That’s what I used to say, anyway. It is a goal that you can measure. Either I succeed or I won’t. But in the end, that is not what matters to me.

Jim Carrey, the comedian, once said that “the heaviest currency in the world is the energy, joy and inspiration you give to other people, no money or titles can match it.” Although it is easy to doubt the seriousness of a man who has played a leading role in the movie Ace Ventura, I found this words interesting.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famous bodybuilder from Austria and the movie series Terminator, (starting to realize the glorious inspirations I have here?), also said it is important to give something back to society. When you are on the top; give something back.

What does success mean if we can not give people something to smile about? What does a gold medal mean if the road used may lead to hurt the team or the club rather than help?

I love to win, but I want to win together with my team and to win with dignety. I want to play a game that I can be proud of myself and the people I work with. I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and say I did everything I could and I have done it in the right way. I want to give the audience something more than just three points; a team they can be proud of and a team they feel gives them joy in their lives.

Sometimes, people ask my what I do. I rarely answers that question. Instead I answer them WHY I do what I do. My answer usually is “I want people to dream and to dream big”. Football / soccer is not a game about realism. It is not about numbers or angles. It is a game about dreaming. I want people to dream. The players, the club, the fans. I want them to dream. I see it as my responsibility to give them hope and something to dream about.

It is not just in football but in all aspects of life that you find important. Health, work, friends, relationships, family. I want to inspire people to attain greatness. Because I do believe that greatness is an option.

Greatness is a choice.

This is my life’s purpose.

Football / soccer is a beautiful game and should be played in a beautiful way, a way that will inspire, delight and uplift people in their everyday lives. It will be a celebration and carnival for those visiting us, not a stale beer on some average pub. For many people, this sport is everything they have in their lives. It is of course an incredible responsibility for us that work with football / soccer, to ensure that we portray it correctly.

Yes, I realize that these sentences it is incredibly pretentious, naive and not the least stupid, but I think it is better to aim for the stars and in the worst case, end up on the moon, don’t you agree?

If I do not believe in myself, no one else will.
And I believe in myself.

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Via this blog, I will share my daily activities. There will be reflections on my continued development, my thoughts about the game and leadership, more in-depth analysis and of course also a dialogue with your readers.

If you want to exchange ideas, thoughts or even contact me about a job opportunity in your association / club, you are cordially invited to submit either a classic e-mail to me at, contact me in shorter form on Twitter via my account @johansolinger or why not a phone call to +46 763 690970?


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