If you measure the popularity of a sport by number of fans, soccer has a clear lead with an estimated 3.5 billion fans. Maybe you’ve never given it much thought, but there are good reasons why this sport has earned the top spot worldwide — it’s all about teamwork and bringing people together.

  1. Year-round consistency equals success. Players and fans are committed beyond just one season. Soccer is the sport played most consistently around the world. It’s a sport that is not sectioned off or dominated by one particular country. In addition, for the majority of top team players, it’s a year-round sport. Many professional players participate in a league season, a league cup, a club championship and international games.
  1. It’s possible to bring the entire world together. The FIFA World Cup happens to be the most widely viewed sports event. Close to 715 million people watched the 2006 final match in Germany, while the 2010 South Africa event was broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels.
  1. Respect and trust your team. Coaches are required find the best roles for each player while keeping the entire team motivated. Coaches often have different approaches, but the best ones always earn a high level of respect from the team, and it shows on the field.
  1. Everyone can win. Soccer is one sport where agility and speed are more important than size or build. While it’s true that soccer players need to be in top shape, the size of their body is much less a factor than it is in football or basketball. Don’t judge a book by its cover when playing soccer; even smaller players stand a strong chance of excelling on the field.
  1. Stay fluid and go with the flow. Soccer is the only sport where the clock runs regardless of any issues. There are no commercial breaks other than on the 15-minute halftime, and any time that may have been wasted during the game is added on at the end of every half. Teamwork means tackling challenges and staying fluid.
  1. Let your passion guide you. The FIFA World Cup and the Euro Cup are just two examples of tournaments that mean a great deal to the teams playing, but also to the countries that are represented. During international tournaments, you’ll notice the flags from various countries that represent a passion and love of the sport.
  1. Welcome diversity. It doesn’t matter if you are a 6 year-old girl or a 60 year-old man, you can still play. You can find organized leagues for every age group, facilities with nets all over the world, and fans waiting to watch. According to a FIFA survey, there are over 270 million people playing soccer regularly around the world. No other sport in the world rivals soccer’s popularity because anybody can play and relate to it.

We all know that teamwork isn’t just about soccer though. No matter how each of us leads our daily lives, we are all part of a team. Families come together as teams, our friends are part of our personal team, and co-workers are on our office team. Thanks to soccer for reminding us how to be awesome, both on and off the field.