Chatting in Chattanooga
Recently, we have been searching for chaplain candidates in the Chattanooga area. It’s a search that began last year as news of a USL — League One team would begin play in 2019. Also, there is another team that plays in the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League) in Chattanooga — an amateur league, but part of the pathway to professional soccer. Both the NPSL and USL — League One (third division of professional soccer) are smaller leagues with lower franchising fees and requirements (stadium size, etc.). Often these teams function on much smaller budgets and may rely heavily on a volunteer base for support. Smaller budgets mean smaller wages (for staff and athletes). But these clubs can also draw some of the most passionate fan bases and create stunning soccer experience environments.
As the soccer continues to grow in the United States there are more opportunities and challenges that spring up with having multiple teams in or around a particular city or region. U.S. Soccer has certain rules and regulations about the types of teams and geographical distances and population density, but the rapid expansion of soccer can make it difficult to supply teams with chaplains.
While serving in soccer for nearly 20 years can help open conversations with new teams about the place and impact of chaplaincy in soccer it is not an easy task. There are many needs on both sides of the equation. For example, educating clubs on what chaplaincy is and is not and educating candidates for the chaplaincy on certain cultural nuances in soccer. There is often a dual process that happens when working to establish a chaplain at a club or with an organization.
It is sometimes a quicker process to help place a chaplain if the people in leadership have had good experience with soccer chaplains in the past. It can be a longer and more arduous process if they have not. And each club and team has different challenges.
So please pray for our conversations in Chattanooga (and elsewhere). That Soccer Chaplains United would be faithful and patient to the process. That clubs and teams would be open and receptive to understanding what a chaplain is and how they can serve and help care for the people within their community.
To support the Soccer Chaplains United’s chaplaincy work and development in Chattanooga and other parts of Tennessee, select the Chaplaincy fund from PushPay. Your donations help to offset the coaching and development work for chaplains across the various levels of soccer.
Soccer Chaplains United is non-profit, 501(c)3 and we depend upon the financial support of our partners to carry out our work of developing chaplaincy, counseling, and community service across all levels of soccer. Your support allows us to offer to serve without reservation. Please consider making a contribution today to help us continue growing our work. Click the PushPay logo below or text soccerchaplains to 77977 to make a secure electronic donation. You can also mail a donation to Soccer Chaplains United, PO Box 102081 Denver, CO 80250.