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Olavarría Opening Up Chaplaincy Opportunities in Omaha


For Felipe Olavarría, sports have always been an important part of life. As a young man, he found that basketball was a game where he could compete and a game that he really enjoyed. In addition to playing fútbol in his native Chile, where he was born and raised, basketball was a massive part of his story. In the midst of his semi-pro, traveling time with the team he got invited to church, it changed his life and it changed the place he gave sport in his life.

I came to faith in Jesus at a time in my life when I was a part of semi-professional basketball team in Chile. I spent my last two years with the team (2014-15) sharing the Gospel with my friends and teammates. Ever since then, my heart has longed for an opportunity like serving the Union Omaha.

Felipe on his love of the Gospel and his love of sports

Felipe, as he preaches on a Sunday at Millard Alliance

Felipe is currently an Associate Pastor at Millard Alliance. Felipe is responsible to help engage the church and link the community in unique ways. This opportunity with Union Omaha becomes an exciting extension of that pastoral heart and vision.

Soccer chaplaincy came more into Felipe’s awareness as he served as a ministry resident in Colorado Springs with Kurt Trempert. Kurt invited him to shadow with him as he served the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC as volunteer chaplain. Kurt’s mentorship led to Felipe being open to serving Union Omaha and joining Soccer Chaplains United.

It’s my conviction that as chaplains we are called to serve others by upholding human dignity and value. I saw this in my time with Kurt and I will look to carry this forward here in Omaha.

Felipe, on his connection to Soccer Chaplains United
Felipe and Taya dedicate daughter Josefina at a recent church service. 

Union Omaha play in the United Soccer League – League One which is part of the third division of professional soccer in the US. Since Union’s inaugural season in 2020, they have had a championship match canceled because of COVID (2020), have won the league as champion (2021), had a 5th place finish (2022) and are currently closing in on a first place league finish this season. With the placement coming late in the 2023 season, Felipe will begin to be available for athletes, coaches, and staff but will look to provide more service in the upcoming season of 2024.

The star above the crest represents the Owls first championship in 2021

I recently met with the coach and some of this staff to talk about chaplaincy for the rest of this season and next. It is my vision for Union Omaha to see a team committed to the spiritual health of their players, only this sphere will take their holistic health to the next level and I am excited to be a part of helping with that.

Felipe, sharing about his hopes for the Union Omaha chaplaincy

Felipe and his wife do, currently, have an ultimate goal of returning to Chile to plant a church. Felipe’s move may mean a new chapter for Soccer Chaplains United in the South American country that a number of our chaplains have called home. Felipe now becomes the third chaplain to hail from Chile following on from former chaplain Elias Burgos (Colorado Rapids, 2008-2009) and chaplain Ricardo Orellana (2009-present).

Recently, Felipe introduced some church members to some finer Chilean culinary aspects

Felipe joining Soccer Chaplains United means that the organization now has 27 chaplains. He is the first ever volunteer chaplain in the history of Union Omaha. Felipe will be raising funding through Soccer Chaplains United. To support his work you can text “soccerchaplains” to 77977 or you can visit our donation page. To support Felipe select Omaha from the PushPay drop down fund or write Omaha in the memo line of your check.

Soccer Chaplains United is non-profit, 501(c)3 and depends upon the financial support of our partners to carry out our work of developing chaplaincy across all levels of soccer. Please consider making a contribution today to help us continue growing our work. Our chaplains are not employed or paid by any of the clubs that we serve. Check out our Donation Page with all the different options. Or, simply click the PushPay link below to make a secure, online, tax-deductible gift, or mail a donation to Soccer Chaplains United, PO Box 102081, Denver, CO 80250.