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Pedro Regalado

Ms. Hamby
Uwrt 1101 028
8 October 2014
Is the S.A.E needed to be successful? : Welcome to the Discourse Community
Introduction:
They are playing soccer like they do not know what they are doing, while the other team
is dominating the field and scoreboard by a high difference of goals. I can see the frustration in
the losing team while the smiling faces are triggering the winning team along with their
cockiness as the team has been successful thus far. In my head, it occurred: What is the
difference? Is it really just the skill of each individual player that make a successful team? Or is
it the way each team communicates with their players? This engaging thought, while observing
the mens intramural soccer game brought me to the idea of identifying intramural soccer players
as a discourse community. This discourse community was researched at UNC Charlotte in the
recreational fields in which they meet and play. The purpose of this discourse community is to
find whether the success of each intramural soccer team has to do with the language and
communication they use or is it another factor? I predicted that communication was a factor to
the success of the team, but I also believed that a stronger factor was the skill that each
individual player had to make the teams success along with their principles and values if they
had any. This prediction will be tested by observing, recording, interviewing and engaging with
specific intramurals mens soccer teams. For the purpose of this ethnography paper, a team with
a losing record will be observed as well as a team with a winning record. The results of each

team after observing, recording and interviewing a few players will be compared and contrasted
between each team to find whether the prediction made was correct and contributed to the
success of the winning team or not. For further reference and higher validity, the intramural
teams will be compared to professional mens soccer team to see if the results for the intramural
teams concur with the professional teams as well.
Methodology:
After each game, each player from each team is not required to shake the other team
players hands, but it is a suggested or a known gesture to do after every soccer game. By doing
this, it shows the sportsmanship and respect that each team member has for each other no matter
who won or loss. This is what I observed on the first game I went to. It showed me who had
great sportsmanship and respect which could be a factor of why they lost or the cockiness in
teams winning record. In this first game, I did not talk to either team, I just observed because it
was one of the key games in which the team with the highest winning record got to play the team
with lowest losing record.
The second game that I attended was when I closely observed the losing team only. I
figured out who the captain was so after the game I approached the captain trying to ask a few
general questions about the team while also leaving room to schedule an interview. The captain
became friendly about it and gave me permission to set up an interview with him. It had been a
successful night as my goals for that night were achieved and led to further affiliation with the
captain and myself. Once I finally got to interview the captain it was found that he sends text
messages to his players to congratulate them even when they lose. He stated that even when they
lose he sends a group message and tries to encourage his teammates to do better the next game
and thanks them for showing up to play. Even though this was the losing team, the players

seemed very cheerful and excited to come play. The one major problem with this team is that
most of the players are new players and therefore do not know the rest of the team. The captain
of this team told me that the communication is not as strong as previous years because many
people have graduated or have left the team, though others have joined cheerfully. The captain
tries to be fair and lets everyone play, but he claimed that thats not good enough when half of
the players on the field do not know how to talk to each other with confidence while under
pressure from the opposing team.
The third game that I attended was when I closely observed the winning team only. Just
like the losing team, I figure out who the captain was and asked the same general things that I did
for the other team. Except, the team seemed to be more conceited than the losing team. At first I
did not pay much attention to it thinking it was just because they had won their game, but later
on I found out that it was a regular thing to talk about themselves on the field and how they
shook the whole team and comments as such. While those are minor issues, it could be a start
to a bigger one. When an interview with the captain was held, it was found out that he reaches
out to the team mainly through texting. He told me that there is a website online that everyone
must sign up in order to play. He told me that that website tells each player when the games are
and the outcome of their games. The website also sends emails to each team members UNCC
email and reminds them of when their team has a game. The captain informed that the texts
between the players were informal and did not use the SAE. The captain told me that only six
people were allowed on the field, though they had twelve soccer players in his team. This meant
that it was his job to put the starters and to regulate when the other people on the bench should
come in the game. The captain stated that everyone knew who the skilled and fast players most
likely were and they knew that they had the starter spots. No one would be embarrassed that

way, but it made me believe that this captain thought that the reason they had a winning record
was because of his skilled and fast players. What was surprising and contradicting was that the
captain stated that one thing he did not like is that players came late or did not come at all
sometimes and that it bothered him not to be able to know who to count on being present. The
captain further stated that even when his best players did not all show up, the players on the
bench were able to complete the job most of the time which still made them successful. Once
the captain said that to me, I took the opportunity to ask him about the fast and skilled players
and their presence in the game. To my surprise, the captain said that it did not matter anymore
because the whole team had been playing with each other for many years now and had learned to
communicate effectively. He said that even if the players from the bench were not as fast as his
starting players, they still knew the plays and how to do them just at a slower rate. The players
on the bench knew how to communicate as well if not even better than the starting players, but
they were just a little slower and had less mentality for the game as the starting players was
what I understood from his words.
While there were many successes in this discourse community, there were also some
limitations. I did not have the chance to interview everyone in each team because of the different
schedules that each person has. While it is not required to interview everyone in each team, I
wanted to interview at least most of them in order to have a different perspective from each
player. This is important to me because the captains perspective of the team and how they
communicate could be different than how a sub or a person in the bench most of the time
would agree to. It is not surprising that when asked the same question to different people with
different positions, one is bound to get a different answer. Another limitation was being able to
open minded and think in different perspectives instead of just my own. As human beings we

have a tendency of always leaning on the side that we have experienced and that we believe to be
safe and true, though that may not be the case at all times and occasions. Another limitation was
not being able to be live at a professional soccer game and not being able to interview the
professional soccer player on a first hand basis. This further limits the credibility of comparing
and contrasting between players that I have seen play live and interviewed and interacted with
against people who I have only researched and seen play on TV. While research can be a good
way to find out more about a specific group, it is not first-hand information from the team or
specific player therefore not all of the information found can be true.

Analysis:
The significance of this hand shaking gesture is that if one of the players in the losing
team did not shake the winning teams players, then that could lead to lack of responsibility and
respect which lead to lack of values or principles as stated in my thesis. This gesture lets me
know what kind of players I am working with and which ones I should directly spend my time on
and which ones I should not. It lets me know the players that have responsibility along with
principles and values.
When observing the losing team, it was seen that all of the team members always came
on time and they always had a plan. No matter how bad they were on the field, the principles and
values and most importantly the responsibility of each player was shown through their actions.
They were all kind to each other and the captain tried to give everyone a chance to play no
matter what the score was. It can be concluded that this team was more about having fun as a
team than having a winning record. There was not much talking on the field, and the little talking

that was done on the field was not unique. They included lines like Pass here, Im open, or
Man-on which meant that someone was coming usually behind them or on their blind spot
where the player could not see. Other than that there was not much connection seen as a team on
the field. The fact that they were cheerful all the time did not make a connection with their losing
record.
When observing the winning team, it was seen that not all players showed up on time. In
fact, the bench players showed up on time, while the fast and more skilled players showed
up late and still got to play first. The scariest was when the goalie did not show up on time, the
captain would then take one of the tallest bench players with good handgrip to be goalie.
While the captain knew that the bench player would not make a good goalie for the team, he
could not risk his starters on the field for the goalie who was absent. The captain believed that a
goalie was not needed if the other team were never to get to their end of the field, so that is the
goal that they strived for, always keeping the ball on their side of the field. The captain took risks
changing different players to different positions never played before, but that was part of being a
captain. As stated before, the starting team had played with each other many years, so everyone
knew each members strength and weaknesses. The biggest advantage of this team was that they
were bilingual and therefore speak to each other in Spanish so the other team would not
understand their plans on their plays. Not only that, but they even had keywords in any
language that meant the opposite of what the word really meant. For example the word Wall
means if I pass it to you, you will do a one touch pass back to me ahead of me and the person I
am try to pass from the other team. Therefore the contradictory of that would be pass back to the
same place I am giving you the ball from, or not pass at all. So therefore, if the other team knows
what Wall means, they still would not know that they are doing the opposite of what the word

actually means. This method further led to my conclusions that the unique communication that
this team had was a big part of their success.
Conclusion:
Reflecting back to the predictions made, and looking at the methodology and analysis of
this paper, it can be stated that my predictions were wrong. It was predicted that the individual
skill of each soccer player made up the successful team, but as shown from the research done and
the results received, the communication of the team is what makes it successful. While it is true
that individual skill is a factor to building a good structured team, an average soccer player with
an excellent communication with his team is way better off to be successful. Observing,
recording and interviewing the key players in each team made it easier to collect more effective
first hand results. While one can never know if those persons were telling the truth or not, with
the comparison done between various team it was shown that there was a pattern in the responses
given when asked about the different ways of communication in the team. While every team is
different in skill and mentality, the one that has better communication with their team will most
likely be successful as a team. Just because one has better communication does not mean that a
soccer team will have a perfect ranking. The team will have failures as well, it just means that
with that mentality and the unique communication that they have with their team is what strives
for the win from inside.