World Cup: Soccer and The Prize


Soccer is in my blood, it seems.

Though I never played or watched it growing up.

But my children played.  My husband was a serious youth soccer coach. And I coached—I’m a licensed soccer  coach, but the kids surpassed me by the time they were 8 or 9.

So it’s not a surprise that I often use soccer illustrations in my speaking.  Just as I did last week in Indonesia.  The theme for our staff conference there was “Unity and Synergy.”  My message was a call to oneness and teamwork.

Soccer is such a perfect example of that.  Good soccer is a fluid movement of players around the field, each knowing and performing his/her position assignment, depending on teammates to do the same.

The midfielders and strikers depend on the defense to send the ball forward, dropping it right at their feet.  When someone has to move out of position, the nearby player fills in—leaving no gaps.  When the opponents mount a counter-attack, the defenders know the midfielders will drop back to support them.

Which is what Christ calls on us to do—to work together, supporting, encouraging, sharing the work and the reward.  For Kingdom goals.

But soccer (football/futbol to the rest of the world) is more than a great illustration.  In much of the world it is almost life itself.  And the World Cup is the pinnacle, the prize!

The 2014 World Cup begins June 12 and runs till July 13.  The best in the world will gather in Brazil to determine the really best in the world.

On my return from Indonesia I watched on the plane a “Countdown to World Cup,” a look at every one of the 32 teams competing. (I told you it was in my blood—but I made it through  only about one third of the teams.)

World Cup teams have great teamwork, but also amazing Superstars.  That’s been true for the Women’s World Cup as well—and I have had the privilege of being friends with probably the greatest female player yet—Michelle Akers.

There are a number of outstanding players in this World Cup who love and follow Jesus.  Athletes in Action has put together a great dvd to introduce us to some of these players—such as Kaká from Brazil (@kaka), Radamel Falcao from Colombia (@falcao), Cacau (Claudemir Jerônimo Barreto) from Germany, Brad Guzan from the U.S. A. (@bguzan) and Jacob Mulenga from Zambia.

You can watch this video—The Prize—here in English and soon in several additional languages.

You can post on Facebook and Twitter and you can order the dvd to share with your friends and neighbors, and with anyone you know who is a big soccer fan, or even just an occasional fan during World Cup and the Olympics.

Even if soccer isn’t in your blood, the stories of these players will encourage you as you walk with Jesus and pursue the prize to which He has called you. (Philippians 3:14).

What about you?  Which story did you especially like?

C2014  Judy Douglass