Sportsmanship is an important value to have not just in soccer, but in life as well. No matter what you’re doing, whether it be sports, school, or other activities, the way you treat your peers and competitors matters more than the outcome of the contest. You often see stars at the professional level exchange handshakes, hugs, or jerseys at the end of hard-fought games as examples of appreciation for their opponent, which shows respect for the sport and the people playing it.
Imagine you’ve just lost a big game — it happens to everyone who plays sports. It’s a tough feeling, but it can be even worse when the team that won is bragging or celebrating obnoxiously. Losing and winning are a part of life. No one wins all the time, and no one loses all the time. When you’re having your moment as a winner, remember how you felt after a loss and think about how you wanted the winning team to act.
Whatever the result of the game, shake the other team’s hand. Tell the other team’s players, “good game.” Treat them with the same respect you want to be treated with. This doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your achievement when you win, but you should do so while being aware of how your actions will affect your competitors. These small things will go a long way in your development as both a soccer player and your character as a person.