Soccer Chaplains United Sample Duties and Hours

stage chair with seat number


An important question that chaplains and chaplain candidates must consider before accepting a role as chaplain with a soccer team or organization is the question of time. Chaplains in sport are typically volunteer. There are few, if any, chaplains that are employed by a sports team or organization. Some may receive slight compensation or some perks/benefits (tickets) and these vary across sport and sport levels. This brief is intended to help give chaplains and chaplain candidates considering Soccer Chaplains United and a chaplain position an idea of the number of hours needed for ministry and how that time might be spent.

Industry Standards

We believe that the minimum amount of time needed for an effective chaplaincy to a soccer team or organization is approximately 5-10 hours per week. Ideally, during a team’s season a chaplain would have more availability (10-15 hours/week). Of course, there are mitigating factors for the amount of time which include an organization’s receptivity to chaplaincy, the length of the season, the team or organization’s level (professional, collegiate, etc.), distance from stadiums/training facilities, and the chaplain/candidate’s own availability and other vocational roles and demands.

Other organizations involved in sport chaplaincy might use hours or may simply ask for chaplains to be present at “one training and home matches in a week.” Some “sample” breakdowns and suggestions of how a chaplain’s time might be spent is provided below.

Ministry within the Margins

One of Soccer Chaplains United’s values includes having chaplains and chaplain candidates, especially those from whom the chaplaincy is an avocational or bi-vocational role, consider the areas of margin that currently exist in their work/life balance and to develop healthy rhythms for the chaplaincy ministry.

Ministry of Presence

Another key value is that the chaplain must be present. But not only must a chaplain be present, but this presence must critically be intentional. Part of the work of Soccer Chaplains United is to help a new chaplain understand how best to utilize the limited resources of time in order that a chaplain may effectively develop relationships and offer appropriate spiritual and pastoral care to the team. Some of this includes understanding soccer (football) culture and navigating a particular team’s variance of that culture. 

Sample Time Breakdown

Below is a sample breakdown of what a typical 5-10 hours/week might look like. Other factors that need to be considered are things like drive times (to and from locations). If you are already in vocational ministry (ie, a pastor or chaplain), one of the considerations you might need to assess is what areas currently exist where you might “double-dip”? Do you already lead a local Bible study or small group that might be appropriate for players, coaches, or staff? Can you bring your family out to a game and after you provide a prematch prayer, perhaps the evening becomes “family time” and not necessarily another ministry moment? Is a team meal at your home a way to show hospitality and yet, “do life together?” Can officiating a wedding out-of-state become a family vacation? These and other, creative ideas on utilizing one’s time wisely are welcomed and understood nuances for the sports chaplain. 

Every team and every context will slightly differ in how a breakdown of time and service might be extended. For example, some chaplains might find that being at the weekly training session is fruitful for coming alongside injured players or helping the team retrieve errant balls or handing out water. While, other teams might have a closed training session where the chaplain merely shows up for a few minutes to observe and then greet players before heading to a coffee appointment.

Sometimes a particular team might welcome the chaplain into their private spaces — a pre-game team meal, a workout time or session, even traveling to away matches, and others. Soccer Chaplains United will work with the organization, the coach, and the chaplain/candidate to understand what the boundary areas are and the serviceable points where a chaplain’s presence is most needed and most welcome.

Minimum ChaplaincyVibrant Chaplaincy
5-10 hours/week10-15 hours/week
weekly training session1 hourweekly training session1 hour
weekly game2-3 hoursweekly game2-3 hours
team study1 hourteam study1 hour
one on one coffee/mtg1-2 hoursone on one coffee/mtg1-2 hours
misc prep1-2 hoursmisc prep1-2 hours
crisis responseflexcrisis responseflex
pre-marital/marital counseling1-2 hours
pre-surgery visitation1 hour
meal/home hospitality2-3 hours

Other Considerations

A chaplain candidate will do well to consider that any situation that might warrant a pastoral response and needed presence can potentially become part of their time as a chaplain. These are perhaps the “less regular” moments but can still become part of a vibrant ministry and chaplaincy service to a team or organization:

  • officiating a wedding, funeral, or memorial service
  • organizing/creating a meal train or other type of support for someone on the team/with the org
  • pastoral counseling for a particular issue (pre-marital, marriage, etc.)
  • helping facilitate reconciliation of broken relationships 
  • leading a team building event or retreat
  • helping a coach/coaching staff develop a spiritual plan or theme or leadership training
  • support time for families, coaches/staff and other auxiliary relationships to the team

Adding Support

Other ways for a chaplain to garner support include growing the team that is available to serve. Considerations for an associate chaplain, chaplain assistant, bilingual chaplain, etc. can help a chaplain appropriately balance the care and support of the team and the other work/life demands and needs.