I. Blood sweat and tears have been shed in this jersey. I have battled in this Jersey, for God, this school and my team. All my life I have played soccer with the goal to never “plateau” or to stop getting better, to always achieve the next level. I have played soccer since I was four years old and this jersey embodies my experiences up to this point. This jersey represents not only soccer, but my accomplishments, my defeats, my passion, my hatred, the impact it has had on my life, and much more. But most importantly this jersey represents God in my life, and how soccer has been the catalyst for God to minister through me. II. I started off my college soccer career playing division 1 soccer at Sacramento State in the 2nd hardest conference in the country, the big west. As a freshman I had the 4th most minutes played on the whole team, I had a full ride, and some might say my life had been set up nicely. But by then end of the season I found myself feeling empty, something was missing.
The more I thought about it the clearer it became, I had all of this but I didn’t have what mattered most, God. So I took a leap of faith and left sac state to pursue a deeper and stronger relationship with God. I had no intention of playing soccer anymore or coming to APU. But one of my good friends who plays here at Azusa convinced me to come and check it out. Having done this I found myself in a position, for the first time in my life, where my faith and my passion have been able to coincide, through wearing this jersey. III. This brings me to my second point, which is that not only am I able to play soccer for God and represent my faith, but I am able to actually minister to people through my sport. This summer I tried out and made a semi professional team known as the Southern California Seahorses. This team plays at the highest level possible for college athletes while still allowing them to maintain collegiate eligibility. The Seahorses are a Christian based organization whose main goal is to mold young men into, not great soccer players who are Christians, but Christians who are great soccer players.
You may wonder what the difference is, though it is rather small in semantics the significance is nothing short of incredible. I am now proud to call myself a Christian who happens to play soccer. The difference is what do you put first, your passion and your goals, or God? For the first time in my life, I have put God above my goals, I have put aside my dreams to live to serve God, and in return God has blessed me by allowing to me to still pursue my goal by ministering through soccer. IV. As I said before, this Jersey embodies my life up to this point, why? Because soccer has been the center of my life, everything has revolved around it, and finally I am now able to combine the two biggest things in my life, my faith, and my passion for soccer, and am blessed to be able to practice both on a daily basis. For me the question that brought the most clarity, was when I was asked, “Do you call yourself a soccer player who is Christian, or a Christian who happens to play soccer?”