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Hospitality A Hit as Tacoma Gift Bags Bring a Smile


Jubal McDaniel serves as the Volunteer Chaplain to the Tacoma Defiance (USL-Championship) in Tacoma, WA. With a late-2020 placement and that coming in the middle of a pandemic, his first steps to serve the Defiance were put on hold as the team ended the 2020 campaign. The door was opened; however, for Jubal to get a brief introduction to the team via Zoom with two weeks remaining in the season. But, as is the case in USL, there is frequently a lot of change. The head manager moved on to a new opportunity, several athletes moved to other teams around the country and, in many ways, 2021 would be a bit of a re-start.

With the 2021 season quickly approaching, there was a sense of urgency to begin the season serving the team well. Given that the USL still has COVID protocols in place that limit in-person interactions, Executive Director Rev Brad Kenney and Jubal needed to work on a way to show hospitality to the team from somewhat of a distance. Jubal’s passion and hobby of roasting coffee combined with his longevity in the Tacoma area, paired nicely in developing an idea to create welcoming gift bags for the players, coaches and staff. The bags would serve to help introduce and remind players and staff of Jubal’s availability and role as chaplain to the team. In addition, Jubal was able to create some uniqueness for each bag as a way to celebrate the start of the new season and show support from a distance. 

Jubal shared about some of the unique considerations as he put the project together,

I confirmed the list of names and coordinated the drop off with the Team Admin. The beauty of a gift bag is that it can be anything you want it to be. I like details, and so I made sure that the bags and ribbons were in team colors. I chose items that didn’t have any nuts, hand wrote a personalized note to each person, created labels with their name on it, and took care to not lick the envelopes. In fact, I created an assembly line and my kids helped me put the bags together! They loved it!

Jubal, on the season-opening gift bags

Many times in the lower divisions of soccer here in North America, those plying their trade do so at a greater expense and cost. Wages are lower. Contracts are shorter. It’s difficult to support families on the soccer income alone. Athletes, coaches, and staff are often traveling most of the year and living away from typical support structures and resources such as family and friends. It is in these moments that a gift and sign of hospitality can go a long way to showing care from a chaplain.

…these simple gift bags deeply impacted the team. I received numerous notes and messages from players and staff thanking for me for thinking of them.

Jubal, on the response to the gift-bags

One email Jubal received, recounted how the training session that morning was particularly hard. When the team walked into the locker room and saw the gifts — some have said the look on people’s faces was something to behold! Even though the chaplain cannot be physically present with the team at this time, these simple paper goodie bags helped solidify Jubal’s role, his reception and trust within the team, and will likely open new doors of relationship.

Soccer Chaplains United is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies on the generous support of individual donors and church partners to carry out its work of chaplaincy in soccer. 

You can support Jubal and his volunteer work with the Defiance. Select the Tacoma fund from our PushPay or by writing Tacoma in the memo section of a check and mailing it to Soccer Chaplains United.

You can give a safe, secure, electronic, tax-deductible gift via PushPay by clicking the button below or by texting soccerchaplains to 77977. You can also mail a donation to Soccer Chaplains United, PO Box 102081, Denver, CO 80250.

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