There is a two-fold purpose when it comes time for gathering for the annual Major League Soccer chaplain meetings – collaboration and connection. This year, the meetings were held for the second year in a row, in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention and MLS Draft. The convention features the gathering of thousands of soccer coaches (from club to high school to collegiate) and soccer-related people (vendors, instructors, etc.) and many from the United States top professional soccer leagues (MLS, NASL, etc.).
This year, CrossTraining had three chaplains attending the annual meetings. Colorado Rapids Associate Chaplain Hugo Venegas traveled with Lead Chaplain Brad Kenney to Philadelphia and were joined by Associate Chaplain Ricardo Orellana who continues to work with the ministry in assisting with translation. The time together was marked with some fellowship with other chaplains from around MLS, as well as many of the Athletes in Action chaplains and soccer associates. Additionally, Chaplain Kenney and Venegas were able to connect with several of the Rapids staff and coaches – both past and present – during their time in Philly. The four-day trip was capped off with some time for the CrossTraining team to discuss plans for the upcoming season.
One of the recurring themes of the trip could be summed in the phrase, All for the glory of God. What started as a discussion of theology amongst some of the chaplains became a catch phrase – at times with a slight jest. But this phrase (also known as Sola Dei Gloria) really began to take on some special meaning as the trip went on. Time and time again, as CrossTraining and the other chaplains shared some of the story of God’s work there was a continual amazement and praise of how God was working in even the smallest details to bring about the glory of His kingdom in and through the sport of soccer.
The MLS season kicks off Saturday, March 8, 2014 as the Seattle Sounders host 2013 Champions Sporting Kansas City.