Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It's a good thing you not a football manager, imagine Lionel Messi, Ronaldo,Zinnedine Zidane or Ronaldhino coming to your team. These are some of the best footballers in the world, all speak different languages but can walk on a field in England and beat an offside trap, request a pin point pass through top rated defenders at a speed of 100mph. Most people just don't want to take the time to try and understand someone because the expectation is that you are in America and you must speak english.

In football, you can't go an complain that you don't understand your teammate, you getting paid $200 000 a week, so shut up and make it happen. Park Ji Sung and Patrice Evra became best friends yet one spoke korean and the other french, teammates would laugh commenting on how they don't know how they communicate. The issue is that they were both willing to learn to understand each other, having mutual respect for each others culture but bottom line no football player can use language as an excuse.

My first language is English, so i was amused when moving to LA, an asian girl from UCLA was at one of the teller windows and i guess that she could not fully understand this girl so she just bravely says to here coworkers that "this asian girl is so dumb, how did she get into UCLA, she can't even fill out a deposit slip". The amazing thing is that she felt so natural saying it as she knew other americans will not mind what she said, even though she is a teller and the young girl is attending a top U.S College.

I would also like to add that many football coaches take jobs where they cannot speak the home language fluently but are still successful. I feel that Europeans are more accepting of foreign accents than Americans and i have worked in Europe and stay in the U.S.

Most people just don't want to take the time to try and understand someone because the expectation is that you are in America and you must speak english

It's demonstrably false that what you're talking about is a "'MURICA!!!" thing— English is the lingua franca of engineering and the technical world. Not only in America, but all over the world. This has been discussed over and over again here.

I'm guilty as anyone of being a xenophile, but the analogy doesn't hold for scale reasons:

The CEO of a startup is the leader and public face, so should be in command of the company's message. If this person cannot make themselves understood, their odds of success are zilch a priori.

If anything, a big football shop is a highly-adapted enterprise with tons of cash that can afford extravagance. They have already scaled and can afford specialized subject-matter experts with multitudes of baggage.

In an early startup, you need "go doers": those that are infinitely more capable on average to either get shit done or know what shit actually needs doing (and fast). Later on, the time will be right to bring on more specialized people as the early founders may start to get bored.

Is there an aspect of association football that depends on language like a CEO in an English-speaking industry does? My impression is that the majority of success-oriented communication in soccer is nonverbal.

"My impression is that the majority of success-oriented communication in soccer is nonverbal."

No, if payers wore mic's you would hear it is very verbal as well, just lip read sometimes or in preseason watch a warmup game since the crowd is small you can hear all the calls, "wazza backdoor" etc, is mainly between one to three words, but you use everything you have. Then half-time, the strategy sessions are all talk. I forgot to mention when the coach can't speak english or any other home lanhuage but still is successful.

Sir Bobby Robson spent a good deal of his management career at Sporting Lisbon, Porto, and Barca without speaking Portuguese or Spanish. You might have heard of his translator--Jose Mourinho.

Other interesting tidbits...

Southampton are currently managed by a guy who speaks no English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauricio_Pochettino

Giovanni Trapattoni manages the Republic of Ireland national team (and is one of the highest paid international managers around) speaks notoriously poor english. When he managed previously in Germany, he was also known for mangling the local tongue.

Jose Mourinho is a fascinating character. He is highly educated and speaks 5 or 6 languages fluently. He is one of the most tactically astute managers in the modern game. He's also notoriously paranoid, convinced everything is a conspiracy against him, which seems to stem from an incident in his childhood where an uncle was a wealthy member of the ruling elite, but a peaceful coup meant that the family lost a lot of their wealth. Here's a good documentary covering his recent managerial career:


I'm still not convinced it's an apt comparison.

Communication is a primary requirement in a team sport and especially football.

His own example, forget the manager, the players themselves have to be on the same page in so many levels during practice. Don't you think Messi, Neymar, and Alexis (all 3 different countries playing for Barca) would have to practice and know precisely about their timing.

I think the key thing here is the who really needs whom. Most entrepreneurs need YC/VCs and so might have to suck up what they expect.

Perhaps? Since football is entertainment, it involves building a public image to draw crowds and sell merchandise. This BBC video talks about how Beckham's accent has become more posh over time.


I'm fairly sure all four players you mentioned could make themselves understood in Spanish on the pitch without much trouble. But being a CEO is all about communication and not at all about what you can do with a ball at your feet. Remember, it's fine if the CTO has a thick accent because he can back it up with hacking skills, but the CEO is a professional conversationalist.

How many sales meetings a day does an average football player take?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact