Posts filed under ‘Soccer’
Do religion and sport mix? Some sports people evidently think so. Players who believe in God often show it openly — some saying a prayer on the field after scoring or missing a goal, others showing off T-shirts underneath their kit bearing religious messages.
Some believe that God, or spiritual forces, take sides in sporting contests. Former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje used to hold prayer sessions for divine assistance with players before games. Evangelical Christian Jonty Rhodes once told Andrew Hudson, who was going through a lean spell with the bat: “Do your best and God will do the rest.”
Last year, AC Milan player Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (26), commonly known as Kaka, fell on his knees in prayer while revealing the slogan “I belong to Jesus” on his shirting after helping his team beat Liverpool in the Champions League. It sparked some debate among football followers across the world. The question was whether football players should confront the public with their beliefs.
According to media reports, Kaka is a devout evangelical Christian who “got religion” at the age of 12. He suffered a career-threatening spine fracture, but remarkably made a full recovery. Attributing his healing to divine intervention, he has since paid a tithe of his income to his church. Kaka is a member of Atletas de Cristo (Athletes of Christ). (more…)
Source: Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2008
The FIFA World Player of the Year trophy awarded to Kaka will be on display at the Chruch Renacer em Cristo, in the neighborhood of Cambuci in Sao Paulo, local press said on Thursday.
Kaka and his wife celebrated the holidays in Brazil. While at a church ceremony, the player stated that, “I want to thank God for all the victories and conquests that I have won this year as a player.”
In a few days, the trophy will be displayed in the lobby of the church’s headquarters, located on Lins de Vasconcelos Avenue. The trophy will receive its own stand to better display the trophy and pay homage to the player.
The player claimed that he wants to share his victory along with the fans. He said, “I don’t win alone,” and affirmed that one day he would like to be a priest.
Apart from the FIFA award, another trophy won this year by Kaka, the Golden Ball, will be on display in the halls of the Sao Paulo soccer team, where he started his soccer career.
Source: Beyond The Ultimate
USA Men’s Soccer Forward Eddie Johnson:
As a kid, my grandma made us go to church every Sunday. I never looked forward to it. But over time, I began to realize I was missing something. Then, at just the right time, God sent a friend, Brian, to guide me. He encouraged me to begin my day by reading the Bible. He also showed me how to turn negatives into positives. Finally, at 18, I followed his example and became a Christian.
Before coming to Christ, I got frustrated with circumstances. I didn’t handle relationships very well, and I had a bad attitude that got me into a lot of trouble. After becoming a Christian, I began to think positively for the first time in years, and I became more patient. With God’s strength, I was able to handle tough situations without losing my cool, and my relationships improved as I surrounded myself with people who are a positive influence. Overall, God showed me how to make the most of my life, both on and off the field.
Forgiveness has also been important for me. Through Jesus’ example, I have learned to forgive people and not hold grudges like I used to.
I’ve also found that when things aren’t going well, all I need to do is believe that God will see me through. And He always does!
That’s the key to the rest of my life: faithfulness, both His and mine. I encourage you to make it the key to the rest of your life as well.
Source: Beyond The Ultimate
USA Men’s Soccer Defender Eddie Pope Testimony:
I grew up going to church every Sunday with my family. Although church was meaningful to me, it soon became more of a routine than a heartfelt faith. That began to change during my freshman year at the University of North Carolina. I was playing both soccer and football. August was a grueling time, because I had two practices a day for each sport. It wasn’t long before I was exhausted.
Then a teammate gave me a card that contained some Psalms from the Bible. They made a lot of sense to me. They also provided me with the peace and strength I needed to get through each day. I came to realize that God is a “personal” God. His Word can be applied in every situation. I also realized it was time to quit going through the motions, to stop treating my relationship with God as a routine and to start making it the foundation of my life.
So, in a strange way, soccer has forced me to develop a relationship with God. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. With all the traveling and being away from family, having God as part of my daily routine is essential—even though He is anything but routine.
Life is too short to live without God. He is a necessity.
USA Women’s Soccer Defender Cat Reddick talks about her faith:
Many people think church is the only place to worship God. But you can worship God no matter where you are or what you’re doing. A soccer field is one of my favorite places to worship. Before the national anthem, I pray my performance will bring glory to God. Then the field becomes my church, and playing to the best of my ability, a form of praise.
I haven’t always regarded soccer this way. During my freshman year in college, I took my abilities for granted, showing up for games and practices totally unprepared. I was in such poor shape that a walkon senior actually started over me. That was hard to take, because I really wanted to go out there and help my team. When I called on God for help, James 1:4 came to mind:
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (more…)
Tim Howard (Soccer Goalie – Manchester United)
Having spent the first ten years of my life with an undiagnosed case of Tourette’s syndrome—a neurological disorder characterized by physical and verbal tics—I did not experience a lot of peace. But even though my life often seemed chaotic, I knew I could always count on at least one person to provide calm and stability: my grandmother.
Nana’s sense of peace was so powerful because it came from her faith in the Lord. Through her, God revealed His love for me as well. It wasn’t long before I was following in her footsteps. I wanted the same kind of faith and peace she had, and that is exactly what God gave me.
That said; living with Tourette’s is not easy. But God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well. He has done some powerful things in my life through the combination of these two gifts. Not only has He helped me earn a position with Manchester United; He also has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourette’s syndrome.
Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that’s the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding. You can experience this same sense of love and peace, too. All you have to do is ask for it.