Not Your Usual Community Outreach

Apr 09, 2019

Imagine getting the first bit of news: Sorry, we won’t be offering you a contract for the next season.. It’s okay. You’re young — well, late twenties in professional soccer isn’t exactly young, but you’ve still got some miles in the legs. But then the second bit of news follows, too closely: Sorry, your spouse has cancer. Pressures on. What to do. Insurance is ending as the contract expires on Dec 31. Next season, what team will take you on? How do you get a contract when your spouse needs help and support? And, oh by the way, your usual bills are still coming due — rent, utilities, and so on and so on. So what do you do? Where do you turn? Where do you go?

Unfortunately, this story is common in professional sport and this story in particular happened last year to a former player with the Rapids. The result? A flight back home — only what they could carry. Sell it all — the apartment furnishings, everything. Donate the rest. New chapter beginning. Hospitals and doctors and diagnoses are the new concern. Insurance. Support. GoFund Me pages. Because you’re never ready for cancer.

I have seen many times, the athletes and coaches that find themselves in the churn of the sport. The sport itself is nomadic. It is a transient lifestyle. There is little stability. There is less security. Sometimes you end up leaving in the middle of the night. Sometimes you leave behind a spouse and children to pack up the house and move to a new city, a different country. Sometimes you’re not paid — depending on the integrity of the club, or the league, or the national federation. Sometimes the insurance ends when the contract ends.

As a chaplain, we are called to help “cover” people that are vulnerable. We are called to help people pick up the broken pieces and shattered dreams of their lives and begin to piece it back together again, somehow, with God’s help. And one of the ways is by reminding people who they are and how much they are loved.

An assortment of boxes — left overs from someone’s story in Colorado heading back home

Well, I mentioned that this was a community project. But of a different type. Sending some personal items back to the player from the story above. For me, it’s about not having to lose “everything” — especially, memories and personal things left behind in the heat of the moment and the urgency of flight. It’s about trying to restore something that has been lost. It’s about reminding people that they are loved and held, not by us, but by God.

Thank you for your support of Soccer Chaplains United. When you give, a portion of your gift automatically goes to help needs within the soccer community. You can give specifically to help cover our costs by making a gift through PushPay — simply select Community from the selectable funds. Your financial gift helps us purchase new soccer equipment, sponsor individuals or organizations, and to cover associated costs of providing Bibles, soccer equipment, and other outreach tools locally and around the world.

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