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Ex-Capitol Hill aide shares political lessons from soccer

A veteran of Capitol Hill and a former Obama appointee says congressional staffers could improve their legislative game simply by kicking around a soccer ball.

“Everybody has access to information all the time. You don’t have time to think and reflect, which really looks a lot like soccer,” Peter Loge says of working as a staffer in Congress.

{mosads}Loge, who spent years on the Hill in senior positions with former Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and Sam Coppersmith (Ariz.), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) is releasing a book about his favorite sport.

“Soccer Thinking for Management Success,” is out in July, timed to be released as the 2018 World Cup, which begins this week, wraps up in Russia.

Several of the lessons in his new book, for which Loge interviewed dozens of current and former soccer players, grew out of his experiences on Capitol Hill and in politics.

One tip? Scoring a goal at the Capitol can actually be easier with some relaxation.

“If you watch a soccer game, you’ll see a lot of players stand still for a lot of the time, they walk, they move slowly,” says Loge, who’s now an associate professor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. “When they have to, they sprint. Because they know that if they don’t take a break, if they don’t relax when they have the opportunity, they won’t be able to sprint when they need to.”

“You never move just to seem to be moving, which is what we do in politics all the time,” says Loge, who also served as an Obama-appointed senior adviser to former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf.

“Staff feel the need to appear to be busy,” Loge adds. “You’re losing your effectiveness because you’re focusing on every shiny object at the moment.”

Another frustration born out of Loge’s time in Congress was offices not banding together.

“Nobody was working as a team, everybody was working on ‘their thing,’ ” laments Loge.

In the “good offices,” Loge says, staffers would be in constant communication and would work hand-in-hand on a “shared mission.”

“Soccer Thinking for Management Success,” currently available for preorder, is poised to be released on July 27.

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