"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Friday, April 05, 2013

FC Bayern Youth Cup Brazil

Over the years most of the teenagers in our house have objected to me putting anything on the blog about them. Seems their friends have found out about the blog and check it from time to time. Nothing more embarrassing than your dad putting some picture of you on a blog from when you were a five year old.

Over the years I will still post stuff on the teenagers in our house for various reasons. Mainly because I am proud of them.

This is a proud post.

If you know anything about Garrett you know that he LOVES soccer. He knows everything about it and LOVES to play it.

Since he was about seven or eight years old he wanted to be a professional soccer player. That is still what he wants to do.

We've prayed a lot about this over the years. For doors to be open. For that world to be Garrett's mission field. For Garrett to realize, if God blesses him with pro contracts, that soccer is what he does, it isn't who he is. It's amazing how many people here put soccer as the number one important thing in their lives. We've, me and Garrett, talked a lot about not making soccer his god.

We happen to live in what is probably the most soccer mad country in the world. Almost every kid wants to be a professional soccer player.

Garrett has played in a few different soccer schools over the years. He has been asked to move positions a couple of times. He doesn't complain. He has had some disappointments along the way. Things that God has used to build his character. Things you would rather not have happen but you always see, usually on the other side, how God worked through that and how He made you stronger.

Garrett had a couple of things like that happen to him last year. This year started off a little rough for him as well.

But he keeps showing up and he keeps playing hard and God keeps working on him.

We tell him to keep hanging in there, keep training, keep playing hard, etc. and we'll see where God leads him.

A couple of weeks ago Garrett played in a tournament. He had been practicing for the tournament at his school. It was a different team than the one he normally plays on. It was for boys 16 and under. Garrett just barely made the cut off.

He practiced and told us about the tournament but he didn't say much about it. That didn't surprise us because he's never been one to toot his own horn. He's a very humble kid.

He had to make the team to even get a chance to play in the tournament. He did.

A couple of days before the tournament my girlfriend ran into the mom of one of the other boys that made the team.

She began to tell us how big of a deal this tournament is. That 10 players will be selected, after the tournament, to go play in the national tournament in São Paulo in April. That the winner of that tournament will go to Germany in June to play in the finals against a German team.

This tournament is sponsored by FC Bayern. One of the biggest and best soccer clubs in the world. It's also sponsored by Audi and Allianz. Both giant German companies.

We found out that scouts from FC Bayern would be at the tournaments.

Garrett had said nothing about this to us before. He didn't make a big deal about any of it.

He didn't want us at the tournament because he thought it might make him nervous. That was okay.

We had 10 different things to do during that day so it worked out good. We weren't sitting around waiting to hear from him.

That morning I remember asking God to just give Garrett some good news. Just a little breakthrough to boost his confidence. Just some good news after such a tough last 6 months. A simple prayer but that was what I wanted with all my heart for my son. A little good news.

That morning I talked with him a little bit, as we normally do before a game, to just try to encourage him. I said about 10 words and just stopped. I could see something different in his eyes. He wasn't nervous. He had God's peace all over him. I didn't need to say anything else so I shut up and sent him on his way. He was ready.

He called about 5:30 the night of the tournament. We didn't get to the phone in time. We called him back but he didn't answer. So we waited.

We were in the kitchen when he got home about 10 minutes later. We heard the door shut. He walked around the corner and into the kitchen holding this:

He had an ear to ear smile and said, "I made it!" We went crazy.

His team played 5 games and they won the tournament. The final game was 3-2. His team was losing 2-0 but came back to tie it and then Garrett scored the winning goal.

After the games they selected 10 players, from all the teams, to go to São Paulo for the national championship.
A guy from Germany was the official person who called out the names of the 10 invited. Later Garrett told my girlfriend, "Mom, it was the coolest thing to hear my name called in a German accent. It was the best news I ever heard."

A little good news. Thank you God!

He told us he played better than he ever had before. He was doing things with the ball that he had never done before. He played with peace.

I've never seen him so happy as he later talked to his sisters and my dad on the phone about his day.

He was konked out on his bed at 7:00. Emotionally and physically spent.

So this afternoon he travels to São Paulo to play in the national tournament tomorrow. Everything is paid for. His airfare. His food. His hotel. Everything. He even gets to meet some ex FC Bayern players.

This is as close to being treated like a real pro as he's ever experienced.

He came home from school yesterday with a smirk on his face and asked if we wanted to see where they get to stay while in São Paulo. He then showed us the hotel. He couldn't believe he gets to stay in that place. And it's all free. It's called the Hotel Tryp Nações Unidas if you want to google it for yourself. It is a very cool place for a group of 16 year old soccer players.

This Youth Cup tournament also has a facebook page if you want to check it out. Just click here. 

We ask you to pray for him. Not that he wins MVP or that his team wins and gets to go to Germany. Would we like both of those things to happen? Of course. But we are learning to be thankful for the chances God gives us. And this is an awesome opportunity for Garrett. Not just because he will play in front of scouts that could like what they see and ask him to go to Germany to play, although that would be cool, but because God continues to mold him through all experiences into being the man He wants our son to be. The tough times have helped shape Garrett. He's learned and grown through his bit of soccer suffering. Even if everything goes right this weekend and they go to Germany God will teach him lessons through the good times as well. I like the man I'm seeing my son become.

My prayer? For safety for Garrett, his team and coaches and that Garrett can play with the same peace tomorrow that he played with two weeks ago. That he is so full of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God that, no matter what, he will leave São Paulo grateful for the opportunity God gave him.

Please feel free to pray with us.
Whatever happens this is going to be cool and something he, and we, won't ever forget!

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