Strong on the field and in his faith

Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Sam Acho had a rough season last year. He was on the verge of breaking out as a star pass rusher before breaking his fibula in his leg back in September. In three seasons, Acho has 12 sacks and 7 forced fumbles. The fourth round draft pick out of the University of Texas has been a major force on the field when he is healthy and is going to be one of the key components of the Cardinals’ defense this upcoming year. However, Acho finds that his strength physically is nothing compared to his strength spiritually in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Below is a video clip that will give you a good introduction to who Acho really is:

As you can tell, Acho has committed his life to not just be the best football player he can be, but the best follower of Christ that he can be. He is currently involved in a ministry called Living Hope, a ministry that his parents started 20 years ago. His parents were born and raised in small villages in Nigeria. The large country in Africa holds about 170 million people and two-thirds of that population lives on a dollar a day. God’s grace took over the lives of Acho’s parents as his father now has a Ph.D in psychology and is also a pastor, while Acho’s mother is a nurse practitioner. The Living Hope ministry allows Acho’s parents to bring doctors and surgeons to different parts of Nigeria where they can cure diseases and give them medicine that people in the United States are very blessed to have access to.

“Every year I go, my life changes and I’ve become somewhat of an ambassador for this cause because a lot of my heart is in Africa,” Acho said. “I see the lives, not only in the NFL, but living life in America and then I see the people over in Nigeria who have absolutely nothing and I feel the joy that they have after we have had a chance to serve them. Living Hope’s ¬†goal is to serve people in need.” (Credit: http://www.radical.net Secret Church Blog)

The ministry has grown so much, that now the organization is planning on building a hospital in Nigeria where people can have more access to this hope that they desperately need. Living Hope is currently raising money in order to make that dream a reality. You can find out more information about that here at their website: http://livinghopeministries.us/

One of the biggest challenges Acho has faced since entering the NFL in 2011 is finding out that some people are not who they appear to be. More specifically, he had struggled with people who had claimed to be Christians, but their actions and attitudes didn’t match up.

“The challenge has been not wanting to be one of those people who says ‘Hey I’m a Christian’ and then use that blanket statement so that people wouldn’t ask them any more questions,” said Acho. “A lot of people are looking for someone to look up to and hold on to. It’s very hard to hide your life in an NFL locker room and so one of the biggest challenges has been walking the walk and showing people that I love Jesus.”

I would like to pray for Sam Acho’s strength in his faith as he enters his fourth season in the NFL and also for his to leg heal up. Hopefully, he can be a shining example to the players and other people around him that Jesus is alive and He is the hope that everyone needs.

 

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New Soccer Season has begun

The MLS is entering its fourth week of the season and teams are starting to come together to form some sort of chemistry. The Houston Dynamo seem to have their chemistry down quick, leading the entire league in goal differential with five. The defending eastern conference champions have won both of their opening home games, destroying New England 4-0 and slipping by Montreal 1-0. Not only that, but their top striker Will Bruin is tied for first in goals scored this short season with 3. The young forward is tied with Jermain Defoe of Toronto FC and Erick Torres of Chivas USA.

FC Dallas stands alone in the Western Conference as the only team without a loss so far. The Seattle Sounders FC have had a great start, defeating the defending champion Kansas City 1-0 in the home opener. They lost Toronto on March 15 1-2, but then bounced back with a 2-0 win at Montreal last week. As for the defending champs, they have had a slow start. They are now 1-1-1, so their next game at Colorado will show what kind of team they really are.

The most surprising story taking place right now is the performance of 22-year-old Joao Plata Cotera of Real Salt Lake. The young forward out of Ecuador as had 2 goals and 2 assists in just three games this season and his team has not lost a game yet. He shows promise as a young talent and could step up as a potential leader for his team that already features veteran U.S. soccer star Kyle Beckerman. The 31-year-old midfielder has 1 goal and 1 assist this season. Look out for Real Salt Lake to make a run in the middle of the season behind these two stars.

The young and small striker  is quickly making a name for himself. Credit: ecuagol.com
The young and small striker is quickly making a name for himself.
Credit: ecuagol.com

Speaking of stars, Jermain Defoe is doing great in his first season with the MLS. After spending solid careers in West Ham United and Tottenham for the Barclays Premier League, Defoe is quickly becoming a tremendous playmaker in the U.S. His Toronto team is currently 3-0 after a 1-0 victory over DC United last week. Toronto FC is now battling for first place in the eastern conference with Houston and the Columbus Crew.

The veteran still has enough talent to carry Toronto FC this season. Credit: torontosun.com
The veteran still has enough talent to carry Toronto FC this season.
Credit: torontosun.com

Things are shaping up well in the MLS and many fans are excited that the new season is finally here. The Seattle fans truly epitomize that with their excellent game participation. Both of the Sounders’ home games have been the largest attendance so far this season, reaching over 38,000 in the two games. More and more soccer fanatics are watching these soccer stars play, hoping that they perform well as the MLS season gets rolling early.