With the Colorado Rapids extending their loan agreement and affiliation with the Charlotte Independence for the 2017 season, CrossTraining also looked to extend their service of chaplaincy for the United Soccer League (USL) side. Executive Director, Rev. Brad Kenney was in Charlotte last week for season-ending meetings and year-end assessment. The result was a positive one, as both chaplain, John Bettis, and club agreed to continue for the 2017 season.
Bettis began serving the Independence in August of 2016. While not a full-complete season, he and Director Kenney are looking forward to the 2016 off-season and the 2017 season.
With a few months under the belt and some definite points of service, Bettis is well on his way to establishing a good foundation the Charlotte Independence chaplaincy. We’ve identified some key moments from the past year and some emerging opportunities for next season. We hope and pray that things just continue to blossom and grow.
The Independence finished 5th overall in the East Conference. They crashed out of the playoffs after a first-round away loss to the 2015 reigning champs, Rochester Rhinos.
Bettis, will finish a Master of Divinity with a chaplaincy focus from Columbia International University in May 2017. Bettis and CrossTraining will look to continue building a chaplain team which also includes a counselor to serve the Independence team.
John did a great job with limited time and limited resources. One of the good outcomes for our year-end review together was identifying some needs for the future. We will be looking for a bilingual chaplain in Charlotte to assist John. We are also looking to continue serving in tangible ways that help address the different spiritual and emotional needs of the players, coaches, staff, and their families. This will be especially vital for the coming years as Charlotte have hopes to bid for an MLS franchise.
CrossTraining chaplains and counselors are not paid for services by any particular club and do not receive funding from the league. Director Kenney shared his hopes for addressing the financial needs in Charlotte,
We have to find local church partners and donors. Local partners that will capture the vision for the community we are trying to serve with the Independence. Some of these athletes are on really low wage – $500 a month for 8 months. That’s not much to live on, and if you have a family it’s especially difficult. Let’s just say that there are many points where a chaplain can serve and offer care and support with these teams and communities.
If interested in helping support CrossTraining’s efforts with the Charlotte Independence chaplaincy, please contact CrossTraining: firstname.lastname@example.org.