The Boyce College Bulldogs soccer team will kick off its inaugural season in September. In recent weeks, the program hired an experienced head coach, finalized its roster of players, and secured a location in downtown Louisville for its home games. But the work to start the program began more than a year ago with the persistence of three students who had a vision for playing soccer to glorify of God and share the gospel with others.
“I wanted to start a team because playing at Boyce College is the best way to utilize a sport that you love to glorify a God that you love,” said sophomore Nicholas Kampouris, a Business Administration major from Stoughton, Massachusetts. “Growing up I viewed soccer as a way to glorify myself, so having an opportunity to approach soccer in a way that is not self-glorifying is why I wanted to play here.”
Kampouris said he sensed the desire to start the program as a means for ministry early in his freshman year. He said word spread around campus after he opened a Facebook page for Boyce soccer and eventually Southern Seminary’s administration approved the program, which will compete in the NCCAA Division II Mideast Region. In 2006, Boyce formed a basketball team which also competes in the NCCAA.
Sophomore teammates Luiz Moreira, of Campo Grande, Brazil, and Samuel Johnson, of Buchanan, Michigan, helped Kampouris form the vision for the program and share his desire to glorify God through Great Commission faithfulness as their ultimate goal. Moreira, a Global Studies major, said the worldwide appeal of soccer is an avenue for international missions.
“I want to use soccer in missions because it is the most known sport in the world,” Moreira said. “In any country you go into, we might not even have a language that we can communicate with, but soccer is a language in itself. It can break barriers and infiltrate societies for missions.”
Dennis Brooks, who has more than 10 years of coaching experience and recently founded the soccer program at Louisville’s Christian Education Consortium, assumed head coaching duties in July. Brooks said he became interested in the Boyce post because of his dual interests in coaching soccer and teaching young men.
“I am very passionate about pouring into guys and talking to them about becoming godly men, and soccer presents the opportunity to teach a lot of life lessons through the game,” Brooks said. “So the two things are perfectly aligned in this setting, to have that passion of pouring into guys in a godly environment with the game that I love.”
Brooks said he believes athletics teams perfectly align with Boyce College’s mission to train future Christian leaders and advance the gospel.
“God gives us all different abilities and talents, and some of those are abilities and talents in the world of sports. In America it is a sports crazy culture, so if we can use soccer as a vehicle to reach the culture then I am all for that,” Brooks said. “What better way to try and reach the culture than with something they are crazy about, but we do it from a godly perspective with the idea that it is a mission trip every time we go out on the soccer field.”
Brooks said the team has already fused together its love for soccer and passion for missions. During the team’s Aug. 17 morning practice at Louisville’s Seneca Park, Brooks said a young man playing soccer alone asked if he could practice with the team.
“He did not know who we were, but he spent an hour and a half with us. And at the end of practice I heard one of our players sharing the gospel with him,” Brooks said. “I do not know what the result of that will be, but that is what this is all about. And if all we accomplish this season is that young man, then the season was a success before we even play our first game.”
Boyce will open its season Sept. 4 against Warren Wilson College and host its first home game Sept. 12 at Champions Park in downtown Louisville. For more information on the Bulldogs soccer team, visit boycebulldogs.com.
BOYCE SOCCER SCHEDULE
Sept. 4, 2015 | 3 p.m. | Warren Wilson College (SSCC Tournament, Hillsboro, Ohio)
Sept. 5, 2015 | TBD| Appalachian Bible College (SSCC Tournament, Hillsboro, Ohio)
Sept. 8, 2015 | 7 p.m. | @ Berea College (Berea, Kentucky)
Sept. 12, 2015 | 2 p.m. | Crown College
Sept. 14, 2015 | 4 p.m. | Johnson University
Sept. 19, 2015 | 4 p.m. | Kentucky Christian University
Sept. 21, 2015 | 5 p.m. | Spalding University
Sept. 24, 2015 | 7 p.m. | @ Cincinnati Christian University (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Sept. 29, 2015 | 6:30 p.m. | @ Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (Elizabethtown, Kentucky)
Oct. 9, 2015 | 2 p.m. | @ Great Lakes Christian College (Lansing, Michigan)
Oct. 10, 2015 | 2 p.m. | @ Grace Bible College (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Oct. 16, 2015 | 4 p.m. | @ Crown College (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Oct. 17, 2015 | 2 p.m. | @ Johnson University (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Oct. 23, 2015 | 3 p.m. | Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
Oct. 26, 2015 | 4 p.m. | @ Kentucky Christian University (Grayson, Kentucky)
All home games will be played at Champions Park, located in downtown Louisville at 2050 River Rd.