Soccer-to Mexico

Members of Bethel’s soccer team (back row) lead a training session for children on their mission trip to Mexico.

For 13 days in August, 25 players and two coaches from Bethel’s men’s soccer team crossed the border to scrimmage, hold clinics and share the gospel in Mexico.

“Our soccer team’s mission and vision is to be a championship team that glorifies God through excellence, how we play the game, serve and celebrate,” says sophomore English and philosophy major Caleb Morris. “All of those things were present throughout the trip.”

The team organizes mission trips every few years, says Head Coach Thiago Pinto ’05, ’07, ’11, who has traveled with teams to Brazil, South Africa and Niger. But Mexico was a first for them.

For this trip, the majority of the team’s time was spent in Querètaro, but they traveled to Puebla for two days, where they fellowshipped with Bethel alumni and scrimmaged against a visually impaired soccer team.

Because it’s often harder to minister to men in Latin countries, Pinto and his host, Saul, decided to use sports to reach the locals.

“We would have soccer in the morning and outreaches where we would go to a soccer field where kids came and we led training sessions,” says team member Lukas Muszong, a sophomore math and philosophy major. “Afterwards, Saul would share testimonies and stories.”

But it was the team’s service that struck Pinto.

“You don’t realize the impact of a team or a clinic on a kid’s life,” he says. “Our guys showed [the locals] love, which opened up the way for Saul to share the gospel; for me that was the neatest thing.”

The team was also moved by the gospel.

“Guys who were with us were challenged both mentally and emotionally,” says Pinto. “I think during those times you get to see yourself in a very different light. You’re receptive, vulnerable.”

It was during these outreaches that two players fully surrendered their lives to Christ.

According to Morris, the entire experience was a team-building one. “It was great that we were able to come together and become a more unified team,” he says.