Feet of the Faithful

Cedarville’s women’s soccer team uses its passion for the sport to witness to childeren in Costa Rica

by Joshua Stevens

Every four years, the Cedarville women’s soccer team takes the opportunity to go on a missions trip. This summer the team members visited Costa Rica where they impacted lives through the sport they love.

The team left Cedarville on July 26 and returned on Aug. 11. They spent most of their time in San José, the capitol of Costa Rica. They first visited a school in a poor area of the city, where they played games and gave their testimonies.

“This is not something that they always get to have,” head coach Jonathan Meade said. “It was amazing to go and spend some time with the kids.”

The team even used what coach Meade called the “Wordless Soccer Ball” to share God’s Word with the kids.

“It had all the different colors on it, like the wordless book. So, we used that to talk about the gospel,” he said.

An exciting part of the trip for Meade and the players was scrimmaging the University of Costa Rica. Before the scrimmage, Costa Rica’s coach revealed himself to be a Christian.

“He said, ‘I’ve been praying to have a Christian team come to us,’” Meade said.

The two teams met later in the afternoon, and the Cedarville players again witnessed to the Costa Rican players.
“The game was over at 12:30, then we all had a cookout, and some of our players didn’t leave until 5:30,” Meade said.
Several Cedarville players shared their testimony, and Costa Rica’s coach shared his testimony with his girls. At least eight of his players got saved that night.

“That was a huge, huge day for us. It was really exciting,” Meade said.

Goalie Allison Garlock smiles with one of the children the team met in Costa Rica. [Photo courtesy of Allison Garlock]

The women played some other teams in the area and again were able to share their testimonies. They explained why they play soccer.
One of the last stops for the team was an orphanage in the city for teenage girls. The players used the opportunity to connect with the orphans. They spent several hours with the girls, sharing stories and telling the girls about Jesus.
“We got to really inspire the girls,” freshman Bethany Alecusan said. “We showed them that they really do have a future and a hope in Christ.”
The girls at the orphanage loved the team so much they begged them to come back. The team got to do just that when they visited their local school the next day.
Even though the missions trip was short term, and the team had to come back to Cedarville, Meade said connections were made.
“The great thing about short-term mission trips is that a lot of our players became Facebook or Instagram friends with a lot of the girls down there, so that relationship continues,” Meade said.

With their season now underway, the players can look back on the trip, and find things that can help them, not only on the field, but also in their lives. They played good competition, but that was not their main focus. What the team wanted to accomplish in Costa Rica was show who their identity is in.

“It’s not in the game of soccer,” Meade said. “We have a creator, someone who loves us. It doesn’t matter what our performance is on the field.”

The players also understand why they took the trip to Costa Rica.

“Soccer is just a form of worship,” Alecusan said.

“We’re worshipping God, and we need to give Him all the glory.”

Joshua Stevens is a sophomore journalism major and sports writer for Cedars. He enjoys rooting for the Tennessee Titans and listening to old-school music.

Header Image courtesy of Allison Garlock

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