Soccer Chaplains United's 2020 Vision
More than a cliché, Soccer Chaplains United has a 2020 vision and it’s big. Recently, I was preparing a grant request and as I was dialoguing with friend and fellow chaplain, Ben Dudley in Portland, he suggested the catchphrase could be more, especially with how we are poised to grow.
Since changing our name last year, we have seen increased opportunities to explore the development of chaplaincy across all levels of the sport. Whether at the youth club level or all the way up to the professional leagues, our aim and vision is to grow chaplains to serve the thousands of soccer clubs and organizations. It’s a huge vision. Maybe it’s too big!
So for this next year, as we approach 2020, we are working to grow our chaplain corps, alone, and to at least double in size.
At the beginning of 2017, before rebranding as Soccer Chaplains United, we had four chaplains and one counselor servicing two professional soccer teams and one high school. Since then, we’ve more than doubled in size. We now have 11 chaplains, 2 counselors, and 2 community coordinators. The increased visibility as Soccer Chaplains United, increasing needs within the soccer community, and a clear code of conduct and vision to provide care — combined with the explosive growth of soccer in North America has led to this exciting growth.
But adding chaplains isn’t as simple as you might think. It takes months to find candidates and to undergo the discernment process about fit for a particular organization or team. The chaplain’s education and training and follow up are also important and it’s a big area of need. Most in sports ministry receive little or no training or development that is specific to sports chaplaincy. Not only are chaplaincy themes and practices important, but understanding the different cultural nuances that exist in a particular sport or in the general sports culture are often key to the care that is able to be offered.
As Soccer Chaplains United continues to grow, we need more individual donors and church partners to join us. Please pray and consider becoming part of our monthly support team to help us continue to grow and offer care within the unique community of soccer.