Chaplaincy

Chaplaincy Development

Since 2002, Soccer Chaplains United has offered chaplaincy services in Major League Soccer. Since then we’ve expanded to offer an integrated, team-approach which seeks to develop chaplaincy at all levels of the game. Our primary aim is to offer appropriate spiritual and pastoral care and support to individuals within the soccer community — whether someone is an athlete, coach, official, team executive or staff member, alumni, family member or simply a fan. Soccer Chaplains United chaplaincy seeks to offer holistic care. 

There are two, typical ways that a chaplaincy placement happens — either an opportunity with a particular team or organization presents itself or an individual with an interest in becoming a chaplain. We outline both processes below.

Chaplain Candidate Origination

Preparation Phase

  • Soccer Chaplains United assesses the ministry readiness of a potential candidate and may make recommendations as to education, training, or other equivalencies for particular standards.
  • Soccer Chaplains United collaborates with a chaplain candidate as to different opportunities for serving in a particular context — whether in a local youth club to a professional team environment.

Placement Phase

  • Once a candidate and Soccer Chaplains United have identified a potential placement, both work and pray together on an approach and dialogue with a particular team or organization.
  • Soccer Chaplains United helps educate and facilitate understanding between the organization and the chaplain candidate as to expectations, goals, standards of care, and potential outcomes. 

* The placement phase can be lengthy and difficult to finalize due to a number of factors

Ongoing Development

  • After a successful placement or trial period, Soccer Chaplains United works with and resources the chaplain to continue development of the chaplaincy. Typical methods of support include:
    • Sponsoring continuing education (training, conferences, resources)
    • Connecting the chaplain to larger network of soccer chaplains and broader network of sports chaplains
    • Annually reviewing chaplain’s work and offers encouragement and support for betterment of chaplaincy service
  • Soccer Chaplains United develops routine follow up with club/organization to ensure satisfactory work and support of entire organization.
Interested Chaplain Candidates Click Here to Download Application

Organization Origination

Discovery Phase

  • Soccer Chaplains United works with an interested club or organization for the following goals and outcomes:
    • Educates as to the specific goals and aims of a chaplain team
    • Identifies boundaries, expectations, and special needs
    • Reviews individuals a club/organization has pre-selected or identified
  • Soccer Chaplains United begins an initial search for candidates meeting certain criteria:
    • Appropriate education/theological training
    • Ordained clergy
    • Chaplaincy experience
    • Embraces a pastoral/spiritual care approach
    • Bilingual proficiency
  1. After identifying a candidate pool, Soccer Chaplains United selects the top candidates to have a club or organization meet and review for cultural fit and readiness.
  2. Works with club/organization to identify particular expectations, boundaries, and resources for the chaplain to serve with.
  3. Works to ensure that key organizational members understand and agree to the aims, expectations, and boundaries for chaplain to operate within.

Development Phase

  • Upon making a placement, Soccer Chaplains United works with and resources the chaplain to continue development of the chaplaincy. Typical methods of support include:
    • Sponsoring continuing education (training, conferences, resources)
    • Connecting the chaplain to larger network of soccer chaplains and broader network of sports chaplains
    • Annually reviewing chaplain’s work and offers encouragement and support for betterment of chaplaincy service
  • Soccer Chaplains United develops routine follow up with club/organization to ensure satisfactory work and support of entire organization.
Interested Organizations Email for More Information

Frequently Asked

  • What’s the cost? – Our chaplains are typical volunteers and bi-vocational. Soccer Chaplains United is a 501(c)3 non-profit and welcomes donations to support our work and development of chaplaincy.
  • What’s the benefit? – studies show that people thrive when they feel cared for. In the performance-driven, pressure-filled environment of professional sport, it can be difficult to receive appropriate care that speaks to the whole person. A well-trained chaplain can stand in the gap in many different situations to offer appropriate care and connect into larger resources.
  • Why Soccer Chaplains United? – one of our values is to provide consistency of care. Across all levels of the sport like soccer, much of the community is always moving and changing. It can be difficult to make meaningful and authentic relationships. We strongly believe that our model of care and support aids both the individual and the organization.

l Chaplains are not fans trying to get close to their sporting heroes and heroines. Chaplains are not failed sports people trying to resurrect former dreams through their role. Chaplains are not people seeking status or kudos or significance by their involvements. They are essentially pastors. They are involved to serve people in a world where hopes are created and dashed in an instant, where many wonder who they can really trust in conversation, where winners are lauded and losers ignored, where people don’t give up the game, but rather the game gives up on people. Chaplains are needed in sport.  The worth and value of a pastorally trained and experienced minister providing unconditional support to members of the sports club staff is obvious. m

— Rev John Boyers, retired Manchester United Football Club Chaplain

Contact us

Ready to talk to us?

Whether you are curious about Soccer Chaplains United serving you and your team, or if you are a former athlete, coach, or staff member looking to connect with a chaplain or counselor, or looking to engage with our Timothy Project — send us an email and we will get back with you soon.

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