For the love of soccer has been saved
Life at Deloitte
For the love of soccer
Alex Saavedra on the one thing he is most passionate about
September 17, 2018
For Alex Saavedra, a senior tax accountant at Deloitte Tax LLP, soccer isn't just a hobby; it’s a passion he has used to bring teams together at Deloitte.
Alex’s love for soccer was born from his trips as a child to his home country— Peru, where soccer is highly regarded and is a national sport well loved by Peruvians. Alex has fond memories of those times, where he would visit family and play street soccer with the local children in the community. He still remembers the first soccer game he went to with his uncle in Peru; a game filled with awe and excitement. He was hooked ever since.
Soccer has been a way for Alex to stay connected to his family in Peru and to always keep the culture and spirit of his home country alive in his heart, but he also draws close comparisons between the lessons learned in soccer and his professional life. Similarly to soccer, there is great emphasis placed on teamwork and strong leadership at Deloitte. Alex found a way to combine his passion for soccer with the work that he does at Deloitte. We asked Alex to share with us how he uses teamwork on and off the field.
How do you feel about soccer?
One of my biggest passions in life is soccer. I’ve cried because of defeat, and I've cried because of victories. It's a pretty amazing feeling I get when I watch a soccer game. Putting it into words is hard.
How long have you been following the Peruvian national football team?
I've been following the team ever since I saw my first game, never missed a game since. Whenever I can, I watch them live. It's just a great adventure for me and means a lot to be there in person. I've been to many games here in the United States, as well as games in Canada, Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay, Colombia, and Peru of course. The atmosphere at the games is fantastic. You have fans outside the stadium singing and marching, and then when you go into the stadium, 60,000 to 80,000 fans are chanting and enjoying the game.
If I can’t be there for the live game, I'll watch it on TV. It's not just watching it on TV for me though; I have rituals. I take half a day off if I can. I watch it with my family and friends. It's like a big celebration when they play.
What makes a great soccer team?
What makes a strong soccer team is a high-level commitment to the game. The players get to know each other, becoming a family. I think it starts in the locker room. The team must know each other, be committed to the same purpose. The coach must be there as well. You must be very organized. A tremendous amount of order should be in place. Also, just being united.
How did you incorporate soccer into your life at Deloitte?
When I did a rotation in another office, I convinced my team members to play because I know they watch soccer and we talked a lot about my love of the game. I watch my team, my country, everything, and they were intrigued by that. Many of them wanted to learn to play, so I rented out a field. We work weekends during tax season, so I told them on Saturday nights after work we can play and have some fun
How did the team react?
They loved it. At first, there was a learning curve, but at the end of the day, if everyone's learning, it's fun. There's not much competition when everyone's having a good time. Being able to teach my colleagues something new was also great.
How did playing soccer boost the morale of the team?
As time went by, I noticed that the mood changed, they looked forward to playing on the weekends. I mean, no one wants to work on the weekend, but when you have to, and you have a soccer game to look forward to after, it boosted the level of morale. I felt like I was able to build a closer connection as well. If we scored a goal, we all celebrated. It helped to build stronger relationships, which is very important. It was nice to see that I could make somewhat of an impact over there.
What is the one thing you love about Deloitte?
One of my favorite things about Deloitte is that it fosters learning. Especially at Deloitte University where we hold a lot of our training.
What are your career goals going forward?
My career goals here at Deloitte is to stay, obviously. I'm still here. There's a big myth in public accounting that you come to a big organization and leave after a couple of years. However, I've never had that mindset ever since I started, and I still don't today. I believe Deloitte provides an opportunity to grow and to learn and to make others learn by teaching as well. To this day, my goal is to stay long-term and continue to build a career here.