Written by Lang Wedemeyer, Liberty University Head Women’s Soccer Coach, United Soccer Coaches National Staff Instructor, and Faith-Based Coaches Community Member

I was privileged to be able to take part in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes summer sports camp held at Eastern Mennonite University. Immediately upon setting foot on campus, I was greeted with warmth and with genuine care that everyone I met was not only happy to meet me, but excited that I could join the coaching staff.

After a quick introduction to the group of girls who had signed up for soccer, we rolled the balls out, and my time at camp was officially underway. Although I had worked some FCA camps back in South Dakota during my stint there, those were day camps where I came in to just run some of the soccer activities, but never got to participate in the full camp. This week, I was blessed with that full FCA experience.

One of the first things that was immediately clear was how well-organized the camp structure was. I was blown away at the number of support staff that were in place for the athletes and for the coaches. There were college-aged huddle leaders, spiritual leaders, soccer directors, athletic trainers, program coordinators, and coach huddle leaders…all with the desire to pour into the young athletes as well as the old coaches. In conjunction with this great programming, they really worked hard to create a family-friendly environment. Many of the coaches brought their wives/husbands and children along too. There were sessions set up for the very young kids to have a great time as well as to connect with the spouses who often bear the brunt of the brutality of a coach’s schedule.

At lunch and at dinner, coaches could collect to talk about how to be a “360 Coach” with the sport huddle leader. Topics such as coaching for the kingdom, redefining what competition means, and how to have a secure identity in the difficulties of the coaching world were a few of the topics held in the round-table format. Learning from one another with a great mix of young and experienced coaches was a tremendous benefit. That environment was extended to the full coach’s huddle in the evening where all of the staff of the different sports could come together and share experiences, mistakes, successes, and life lessons with one another as we all aspire to grow in our efforts to make an impact for the kingdom.

In addition to all of this, there was an early morning prayer time for the coaches to get our hearts right before working with the campers for the day as well as an after-dinner program that included everyone at camp. That evening session was as fun as it was powerful with music, singing, games, testimonies, getting into God’s Word, and worship.

As exhausting as the day was from sun up till just before midnight crawling into bed, the whole atmosphere of the camp was invigorating. The genuine love and care coming from coaches and campers, huddle leaders, and camp staff was just amazing. I went into camp looking for opportunities to help some young soccer players develop their skills and demonstrate what a Christian Coach looks like, but I know that I received far more than what I was able to give.

The famous quote by Billy Graham that states, “A coach will impact more people in one year, than the average person will in an entire lifetime,” often rings very true. But the people at FCA realize that in order for a coach to have the energy, motivation, and spirit to make an impact on the athletes that he or

she coaches, they must be filled and re-filled on a regular basis. Just as Barnabas encouraged people to remain true to the Lord, their holistic approach to edifying the coaches was remarkable.

As I was driving home from the camp, I was filled up with a renewed mind and spirit. My heart beat faster with the anticipation of working with my team back at Liberty, and ultimately, I was full of hope. In a world full of war, death, depression, anxiety, and suffering, there is hope found in these coaches of all ages, ethnicities, sports, and backgrounds. There is hope found in the boys and girls, and in the young men and women worshiping and praising God, who will grow to be champions for Christ, making positive impacts in this world.