Men's Soccer Team Helps 'Make the Fast Faster'
Mission trips have become a standard “go-to” for the Asbury Athletics Department in recent years, with teams going to nearly every corner of the world. The Eagles have been to Korea, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and even right here in our Kentucky backyard.
So when the men’s soccer team went to Jamaica this past summer, it was something that didn’t turn too many heads — just another opportunity for Asbury athletics to spread the love of Christ through the platform of athletics.
But, as a blistering sun shone down on the island, young boys, as young as 3 or 4, ran around the facility playing soccer, climbing trees, and playing basketball. The Asbury players, on their preseason mission trip to two of Kingston’s boys’ homes, noticed that most of the kids there had no shoes protecting them from the elements.
As the days progressed, many of Asbury’s players took notice of the kids’ frequent breaks where they would stand in the shade to give their feet an escape from the hot asphalt or sand. However, simply because they didn’t have shoes, it didn’t seem to put a damper on their spirits as they soaked in their time with all the AU players.
When the team arrived back on campus, it didn’t take long for junior Garrett Davis to propose the idea of holding a season-long shoe drive with the intentions of sending down as many pairs of athletic shoes and cleats the team could gather up.
An ambitious goal of 100 pairs of shoes was set and, through various channels, the word was spread. Four months later the Eagles’ head coach Ben Andrews sits in his office boxing up 100 pairs of shoes, getting ready to ship them out to the boys they met just a few months ago. Nearly half of the shoes donated for the “Make the Fast Faster” campaign were brand new thanks to people from the community and a few businesses.
“I’m proud of these guys. It’s easy to come back from a mission trip and get back into your routine, easily forgetting what you just experienced,” Andrews said. “Those kids made a lasting impression on us and we don’t want to forget them. We want to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed.”
Each pair of shoes was stuffed with a team photo and packaged in four large boxes. The team is hoping that these shoes will open up the possibilities for these kids to get more involved in sports, specifically soccer.
“Having a decent pair of shoes can be a game-changer for these kids. Not only does it physically prepare them better for the game but it also gives them an unquestionable sense of confidence, as if they belong on the field with the rest of the players,” Andrews added.
Although the men’s soccer team’s season has recently concluded, some of their efforts beyond the field are just beginning.
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