Julie Ertz: 2x FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Credits Her Hugely Successful Sports Career to Her Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ (Gospel Light Minute #244)

Julie-Ertz-celebrating-r259123_800x450_16-9

She is one of the best American soccer players. She is a midfielder for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the highest division of women’s professional soccer in the United States, and the United States women’s national soccer team. She is a 2x FIFA Women’s World Cup champion with the U.S. Women’s National Team (2015 and 2019). She played collegiate soccer with the Santa Clara University Broncos from 2010 to 2013. Following her collegiate career, she was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Draft by the Chicago Red Stars. That same year, she was named the NWSL Rookie of the Year. In 2015, at age 23, she became the second-youngest player to make the National Team. With her help, the United States went on to win the 2015 Women’s World Cup final. She played every minute of all seven games of the tournament and was subsequently named to the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team. In 2017, she was awarded U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. She also represented the United States at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament, helping to lead the National Team to their second consecutive World Cup victory and fourth overall.

In a recent interview with Sports Spectrum, she professed to focusing on one thing in particular even more than her game: that is, her faith in Jesus Christ. “I continue to work on all things, and that goes for my relationship with Christ as well,” she said. “[My faith] gives me a bigger perspective on life and my career.” With whichever squad she’s training and competing at the time, she always engages in Bible study groups and pregame prayer huddles with some of her teammates. “I want to stay true to who I am and my beliefs,” she said. “These Bible studies really help me grow and keep me accountable. It brings me closer to my teammates; we continue to grow as players and as people.” Continue reading “Julie Ertz: 2x FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Credits Her Hugely Successful Sports Career to Her Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ (Gospel Light Minute #244)”

Adrian Gonzalez: ‘Christ is What You Are Searching For’ (Gospel Light Minute #158)

Adrian Gonzalez
Adrian Gonzalez

He is a professional baseball first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was picked first overall in the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the Florida Marlins. Before the Dodgers, he played for the Texas Rangers from 2004-2005, the San Diego Padres from 2006-2010, and the Boston Red Sox from 2011-2012. He was named Most Valuable Player four times in 2008-2011. He won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011 and the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2008, 2009, and 2011. Together with his wife, they created a Foundation, which is focused on empowering underprivileged youth in areas of athletics, education and health.

In an interview with BeyondtheUltimate.org, he said of his faith, “I grew up going to church two to three times a month, but never really got to know the [Bible] or have a relationship with Christ. In 2003, just being around a bunch of guys who are [Christians] on the team, and going to baseball chapels and Bible studies off the field, I really started wanting that relationship and started trying to understand what it was about. My wife, Betsy, had a strong relationship [with Christ] at the time, so as a married couple we decided we should have our relationship with the Lord be the foundation of our marriage. Since [Betsy and I] have been in baseball, we put ourselves around people who will help us grow in our relationship with the Lord. It’s in the Bible that belief in Christ is what you are searching for and need. For us, Christ really has transformed our lives and we couldn’t be any happier, we are content with whatever happens. We look toward Christ to fulfill us.”

He went further to say, “[Christ has given me] a different perspective in life – in my marriage, in my attitude on the field, and in everything else, including [trying to be] the best husband to my wife as possible and striving to be the best person I can be. You see yourself in a different position. You don’t put yourself first, you put yourself last. That’s [something] I never thought I could do until I became a [Christian]. Now I try to live [as God would have me to live] every day and to let others see [that] so others can come to Christ. Anytime I can share in public, I try to take advantage of that as Christ would want me to do. I try to do what I can to lead others to Christ. I have success in baseball, but I know that is because of the Lord. I know my preparing and my hard work definitely play a part, but it would not be done without Christ.”

His name is Adrian Gonzalez.

New York Giants Player, Justin Tuck, says his Faith in Jesus Christ is ‘Essential’ to his Development (Gospel Light Minute #114)

Justin Tuck
Justin Tuck

He is a defensive end for the New York Giants. He played college football for the University of Notre Dame. And was picked in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in 2008 and 2010 and twice to the All-Pro in 2008 and 2010. He and his team won Super Bowl 42 in 2008 and Super Bowl 46 in 2012. He has also been voted defensive team captain by his teammates for the past 3 years. His commitment to serving others inspired him to create the “R.U.S.H. for Literacy Program” which seeks to encourage children to Read, Understand, Succeed, and Hope.

He said of his faith, “For me, it started with my upbringing. My mother and father raised us in the church. I know a lot of times you hear about people going to church every day, but I can honestly say that I went to church…just about EVERY DAY. It was this lifestyle of constant worship that was embedded at an early age. I truly believe that I have been blessed to have this platform as an NFL player in one of the biggest markets in America for a reason. That reason is to spread how good God has been to me and to let his light shine through me…Faith is tremendously important in my family and it’s been essential to my development.”

On the impact of Bible study with his teammates, he said, “For our team dynamic, I feel that bible study serves as another way of helping guys stay faithful to God. In the locker room it can be very hard sometimes because you don’t always have guys that are necessarily living for God, so sometimes you need to see a face or hear a voice from guys that are trying to walk in that way. I think it’s been really beneficial for our locker room because it’s brought a lot of guys closer in their faith and closer to each other. It’s really helped us.”

He encourages young people and student athletes to place their faith in Jesus Christ as well. He said, “When I started being recognized as an athlete, it was hard to prioritize my faith. I tried to play both sides of the fence. When I was around people that were Christians, I tried to act like them. Then when I would get around guys that wanted to go out in the club and party I tried to put on that front. If I could offer any advice from the mistakes that I’ve made, I would say: Don’t try to fight it, and don’t try to impress everyone. Live your life the way that you know you’re supposed to, which is living for God. Don’t worry about what people might say or think…You’re not going to make everyone happy so you might as well do what you know is right. Be who you are and that’s good enough. There will be a lot of pressure that will come your way. However, I’ve found out that by being who you are, a child of God, you have all the defense that you’ll need in life.”

His name is Justin Tuck.