Men’s soccer team attributes success to unity and spiritual growth
Waxahachie, TX – March 7, 2012 – During the Fall 2011 season, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) men’s soccer team made SAGU history with a trip to the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship. The team members attribute their success to the spiritual growth and team unity they developed throughout the season.
The Lions finished the season with the first winning season in men’s soccer history. At the Regional Championship, SAGU (sixth seed) defeated Southwest Christian (third seed), Mid-America Christian (second seed), and Central Baptist (first seed). The series of defeats resulted in the team claiming its first Regional Championship title and a spot in the NCCAA National Championship in Kissimmee, Florida.
The team is proud of their accomplishments as a soccer team but even prouder about their spiritual growth and team unity. These goals were established before the season began.
Defender Alex Vazquez said, “Our goal was to become a brotherhood of Christian men that come together to glorify God by using our talents. We didn’t want to be a collection of individual players. We wanted to be a team that was unified on and off the field.”
Throughout the season, the team focused on prayer. Team prayer became a regular part of practices and games, and during chapel the team sat together and prayed for each other at the altar.
Several players began to attend campus prayer meetings. Parker Sturgeon, Salvador “Chava” Avila, Jonathan “Colocho” Ramos, Cesar Galvan and others attended Revival Prayer meetings on Thursday evenings. By the end of the season, four players had been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The players believe that their commitment to spiritual growth produced a spiritual atmosphere which was evident during the Regional Championships.
Thursday morning, just before their first tournament game, the team spent time in prayer and worship. The players say that they could feel a mighty presence of God. Vazquez said, "I began to feel God’s presence so strongly. Players began speaking in tongues and praying over each other.” The Lions won the game by a single goal (2-1).
At Revival Prayer that evening, a SAGU student prophesied over the team that they would play even better the next day. The next day, SAGU defeated their opponent 2-0.
The next evening Revival Prayer hosted an all-night prayer meeting. Sturgeon, Avila and Galvan attended the service to pray for the team and the final game.
Avila said, “God was the source of our strength the next day. It was only through His providence that we were able to play with so much energy.”
The morning of the final championship game, the team entered into a time of worship and thanksgiving. Sturgeon said, “As I looked around the room I saw many of my teammates weeping in the presence of God. Some were raising their hands in worship for the first time.”
Two players received healing during prayer. Sturgeon said, “I asked God to restore my voice, which I had lost the night before. My throat was so sore that I could only whisper. But, as I prayed aloud, the whisper grew louder and fuller until my voice and throat were completely restored. I began weeping because I was so overwhelmed by God’s response to my prayer.” Salvador “Chava” Avila was healed of a leg injury as Sturgeon laid his hands on the injury and prayed.
Sturgeon continued, “God confirmed to me in prayer that I would make one goal and one assist during the game. At the end of the game, I had made two goals and an assist.” Vazquez comments that the series of Regional Championship games were the three best games he has ever seen Sturgeon play.
SAGU Professor Amy Alexander had several soccer players in her class. Like other SAGU professors, she prays for her students and their interests and involvements including academic assignments and activities outside of class.
Knowing that several would be involved in an all-night prayer meeting before the final game, without the opportunity for rest, she prayed for their strength and protection. She said, “As I was praying, I felt God confirm to me that He would honor these young men, such as Parker, during the game, because they were obeying Matthew 6:33, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’”
Sturgeon said, “The games we play and goals we score will fade away, but what happens during prayer is eternal. Who we are and what we do for God and his kingdom should always remain our biggest priority.”
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927, and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.