John Brown University women’s soccer team hopes to build the program by, first, glorifying God, and second, letting the results come with hard work and perseverance.
Last season, the women’s soccer team became conference champions, advancing themselves to nationals. The girls are looking forward to this season, starting at the bottom and working their way up to the top, game by game.
“Last year was definitely exciting, but with every year everyone has to start 0-0,” Kathleen Paulsen, head coach for the women’s soccer team, said. “We’re looking at it as another opportunity to get better and to grow.”
The team is not only encouraged to grow physically by training hard in practice, but also spiritually by glorifying God on and off the field.
“We think it’s crucial for everything we do,” Adrienne Kennedy, one of the four captains of the soccer team, said. “That’s something that we live by. We couldn’t get through practices or through a game without having our faith and relying on each other to encourage our faith. The community faith that we do have is crucial to everything we do, on and off the field.”
One of the ways that they show Christ’s love on the field through community is by praying with the opposing team after every game. Kennedy and a former player came up with this idea when a speaker talked about community prayer in chapel.
“Pray for your enemies,” Kennedy said. “Although the team we are playing isn’t necessarily our enemy, we’re competing against each other. Why shouldn’t we pray for them?”
The soccer team is committed to leaving a legacy by living out their core values in the here and now. Kristen Morency, goalie for the team, said that the difference between being a legacy and leaving a legacy is living in the here and now.
“It’s not about what it’s going to be in the next year; it is who we are right now,” Morency said. “Right now, we’re trying to focus on one game at a time. We’re a great squad of girls with a lot of talent on the field. The expectation may linger in our minds. But as much as we can, we are going to try to focus.”
As the soccer team continues to play hard and well, Paulsen wants the team to, most importantly, have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Big term goals: I hope that these women walk away from college knowing and loving the Lord in a way that they never knew him before soccer was part of their experience but it didn’t define who they were,” Paulsen said. “I think that soccer is the microcosm in life. In a three-month window, you experience all the emotions that you experience in a year of life because there’s wins, losses, good things. If you can be faithful in the soccer piece, then it can carry into life. I view it as a training ground for life.”