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Life is like football

To show the importance of having goals by drawing parallels between football and life.

by Helen Redfern (revised, originally published in 2009)

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To show the importance of having goals by drawing parallels between football and life.

Preparation and materials


  1. Everybody knows something about football. What do you know?

    Can you name someone who:
    Plays for (your local team)?
    Plays for Manchester United?
    Plays for England?

    Every week, many people all over the UK watch football and play football. It’s talked about in school and at work; it’s all over the TV and newspapers. For some people, football is more important than life itself! At the moment many people are glued to their televisions, watching the Euro2016 competition take shape!
    In some ways, life is like a game of football. Let’s see how.
  2. Reader 1:  When I step out onto the pitch, I have one aim in mind – for the team to score as many goals as possible. Clever tricks and flashy footwork are useless if we don’t score goals. Hitting the target is the best feeling in the world. You get the most amazing feeling of achievement. 

    Reader 2:  Life is like football. We need to have goals to aim at. Targets at school give us something to work towards. Targets in sport or music or another skill help us to practise with purpose. And reaching the goal is a great cause for celebration, just like scoring a goal on the pitch.

    Reader 1:  Being a footballer is amazing most of the time. When you’re on form and playing well, it’s the most fantastic feeling. But getting injured and not being able to play is terrible – no one can tell you when or where it will happen, but it happens to all of us at some point and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Reader 2:  Life is like football. Things can be going really well and then disaster strikes – illness, bullying, family arguments, trouble at school. Everyone has difficult times in their life.

    Reader 1:  When I play football, everybody wants to tell me how to play – my friends, my coach, even the fans. They all have different advice – attack more, defend more; shoot more, pass more. How am I supposed to know who to listen to? And the newspapers are the worst – if I score a penalty, I’m like a god; if I miss a penalty, they’re calling me names.

    Reader 2:  Life is like football. Everybody wants to give us advice and it’s hard to know who to listen to. Some people are quick to praise us when things are going well, but soon turn against us when the going gets tough.

    Reader 1:  When the final whistle sounds, we know then whether we have won or lost the game. Of course, it’s great to win, but what is more important for me is knowing that I have done my best, being satisfied that I have given it my best shot.

    Reader 2:  Life is like football. At the end of our life, we surely want to look back and feel that we have done our best, given it our best shot, whatever the outcome.

Time for reflection

Let us take time to reflect upon our lives. For the next few weeks we are going to hear a great deal about football, but our lives are even more important!

What are your goals?

What are you aiming for?

What are you doing to achieve them?

Is life going well or are you facing hard times?

Who is there to help you?

Who do you listen to for advice?

Do you feel that you are doing your best in life?

So next time you watch or play a football match, remember the ways in which life is like football and ask yourself, ‘When was the last time I scored a goal?’


‘He who would valiant be’ (Come and Praise, 44)

Publication date: July 2016   (Vol.18 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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