Every two years, the world collectively stops what it’s doing to watch some of the best athletes represent their country in the Women’s and Men’s World Cup soccer tournaments. As a former—and impressively average—college soccer player, I love witnessing this sport’s ability to bring people together for a much-needed 90-minute breath of fresh air. Wearing my professional hat, though, I’m most taken with the goalkeepers—the crisis managers of the sport—and the lessons they can teach us as we professionally manage crises.
Before I dig too deep, let’s examine the best goalkeeper of this year’s World Cup: AB InBev. For decades, the Budweiser parent company has been a valued partner of the International Federation of Association Football, the governing body that runs the World Cup, and one of the organization’s largest corporate sponsors. So, when host-nation Qatar announced at the proverbial 11th hour—long after tens of millions of dollars worth of beer had already been delivered—that its stadiums would not be serving Budweiser, the company found itself in a good old-fashioned crisis.