What’s Next for the Bobcats?

The Charlotte Bobcats became the first team kicked out of the NBA playoffs when they lost to the Miami Heat last night 109-98. The Heat swept the series and will face the winner of the Toronto/Brooklyn series. As for Charlotte, they ended the regular season with a 43-39 record, their first winning season since 2010 when they finished 44-38. So let’s see what the future holds for them next year.

The first thing that will happen to Charlotte is a name-change. After 10 years of being called the Bobcats, they will switch their mascot back to the Hornets, their original team name. The change will also come with a new logo and new uniforms. Will this result in a new winning-culture? Maybe. Back when they were called the Hornets, Charlotte’s team did pretty well for itself. Maybe going back to the old name will bring back some old school basketball that will lift the spirits of the players and fans.

Al Jefferson was a huge addition to the Bobcats team this year. He led the team in both points and rebounds. With him healthy next year, Charlotte will dominate the paint a lot better than they did this year. They were only 16th in rebounds, but their defense was better than expected, only allowing 97.1 points per game, which was 4th in the league.

In order to help grab more rebounds, the Bobcats need a good power forward to pair up with Jefferson down low. Josh McRoberts is obviously not the answer in Charlotte. Luckily for Charlotte, this year is full of great players to choose from. They could go after Jerami Grant from Syracuse, Cleanthony Early from Wichita State or maybe Jarnell Stokes from Tennessee. Since Charlotte did so well in the regular season, they won’t have the opportunity to draft a guy like Aaron Gordon from Arizona, Noah Vonleh from Indiana or Adreian Payne from Michigan State. However, there is a possibility that they could still be there. In other words, Charlotte has six great players to choose from this draft and can add depth to their front court.

The soon-to-be-called Hornets should be good with their back court for next year. Kemba Walker is slowly turning into the superstar that Charlotte needs, Gerald Henderson is an above average shooting guard that can put in some good effort every night and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is developing into a solid starter that can hold his own. Walker led his team in points during the series with Miami, averaging 19.5 points in four games and six assists per game as well. Veteran shooting guard Gary Neal also produced great numbers coming off the bench with 11.3 points and two rebounds per game. I see Charlotte moving into a good direction after the off-season. They’ve got a great coach in Steve Clifford and a solid starting lineup that now has playoff experience. I am optimistic for this team that is heading in the right direction as Hornets next year.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Herculez Gómez

Herculez Gómez is the oldest of five children born in Oxnard, California to Mexican-American parents. He grew up in Las Vegas where he played soccer for Las Vegas High School. Starting out small, Gomez played for Cruz Azul of the Mexican First Division and moved around from team to team until he landed with the San Diego Gauchos of the USL D-3 Pro League in 2002 where people finally noticed his talents. That great year with the Gauchos landed him a spot on the L.A. Galaxy roster. A foot injury slowed down his progress to mature into a superstar player, but then his big moment finally came in 2005 where he scored the game-winning goal in the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, then helped the Galaxy to a rare Cup ‘double’ when they also won the 2005 MLS Cup. Gómez ended the 2005 season with 18 goals scored for the Galaxy (in all matches), and was voted by the local L.A. media as the year’s Most Valuable Player.

A couple of years later, Gómez made the USA National soccer team where so far he has scored 6 goals in 24 appearances. Known mainly as a substitute player, the 32-year-old still plays for the USA team. In 2012, Gómez became the first player to have won both the MLS Cup and the Primera División championship when he helped lead Santos Laguna to a 3-2 victory over Monterrey. As a member of the Santos Laguna club, Gómez scored 11 goals in his first 12 appearances for the team across all competitions. He now plays for Tijuana in the Liga MX. This year, Gómez has scored 2 goals in 4 starts for the USA national team.

As you can see, the veteran striker has moved around for a very long time, trying to find a place where his skills are needed. It may seem like God does not have a plan set in stone for him, but Gómez is confident in the Lord’s ability to get him through any tough situation that life might throw at him. 

“I’ve learned that there are things that are not in my hands and you’ve got to leave them in God’s hands,” Gómez said. “He has a plan for you. There’s a quote that I remember growing up where it says for a rich man to get into heaven it’s as hard as it would be for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, so it kind of makes me think like this is great, but there’s still more out there; this isn’t all there is, you still gotta do a lot more.” (Credit: christianexaminer.com)

Gómez understands that this life is not ours to live and everything belongs to God. It’s up to His divine authority whether or not we live our lives the way we want to. Our mission is to glorify God in all ways possible. If that means going to hardships, then so be it. Everything we do should be for the will of God and we have to let Him take over our lives so that He gets the glory in all things. Gómez recognizes this and we should to as we let God take control of everything going on around us.

Christian Athlete of the Week: David Luiz

The 27-year-old Brazilian defender plays for Chelsea and is one of the main reasons why Chelsea has one of the best defenses in the English Premier League. David Luiz has made 15 starts and is a force down in the box. He started out at Vitoria and then went to Benfica in La Liga when he was 19. After being noticed as a star defender, Chelsea decided to pick him up in January of 2011 and ever since he has been an anchor for José Mourinho‘s club. He is now the vice-captain of the club and has a Champions League and FA Cup title under his belt.

However, this defender is not just known for making plays on defense, but is also a big defender of his Christian faith. He is a devout Christian and calls Kaká his role model (a fellow Christian soccer player). Luiz strongly believes that God has our futures all planned out and that everything will go according to His will.

“I know that God knows everything in my life so, when I don’t play, sometimes I consult,” explained Luiz. “Sometimes I think, ‘Today God doesn’t put me in to play, he takes me out, so there is an injury or something like that’. That’s how I think.” (Credit: The Telegraph)

He has the strong confidence in the One who can give him the spectacular performance he gives on a daily basis.

“My faith gives me the belief that I can go out and perform and improve as a player. It gives me strength and inspiration,” Luiz said. “Everything in life belongs to God. Our purpose has already been mapped out.” (Credit: The Independent)

Chelsea is coming off a very defensive 0-0 draw to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Semifinals. Their next match will be on April 27th against Liverpool in a crucial Premier League matchup. Luiz’s defense will be critical in that match because Liverpool has scored more goals than any other team this season with 96. Since Liverpool is on top of the standings, Chelsea will thoroughly enjoy this victory if they can pull it off. Luiz already knows that God’s will is already in place whether he succeeds or not. All that matters is that Luiz glorifies his Heavenly Father no matter what happens to him in life. We should all do the same and pray for God’s will to be done in our life and not our own.

NBA Defensive Superstars

The NBA just announced that Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. That makes sense, since he was the cornerstone of a great defensive team that finished 1st in points allowed with just 91.8 per game. The Bulls also finished 10th in both rebounds and assists per game. As for Noah individually, he ended the regular season with 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. With those numbers, do you think he truly deserved the Defensive Player of the Year Award? Let’s look at some other guys that could have been deserving for their play this year.

DeAndre Jordan- The L.A. Clippers’ center had a career-defining year. He scored a career-high 10.4 points per game and led the NBA in rebounds with 13.6 per game and in field goal percentage with 67.6 percent. Not only that, but he also had a career-high 2.5 blocks per game, which was 3rd in the NBA. He also average a steal a game, which is pretty rare for a big guy like him. The Texas A&M product should get some high recognition for how he aided superstar teammates like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. This astounding season should not be overlooked and the 25-year-old from Houston, Texas has plenty of years like this ahead.

Anthony Davis- In his second season in the NBA, the 21-year-old from Kentucky is already making noise. Davis finished first in the NBA with 2.8 blocks per game. He also started 66 games and averaged 35 minutes a game, showing that he is an integral part of the New Orleans franchise. His 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game were also very impressive. I’m sure this guy will have a chance to win this award somewhere in the near future.

Paul Millsap- His first season at Atlanta will always be remembered as a memorable one. The former Utah Jazz power forward finished the regular season with a career-high 17.9 points, 3.1 assists and 6.4 defensive rebounds. The new Atlanta Hawk also made his first ever All-Star game appearance after 7 years in the league. He also averaged 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s the only player in the NBA with numbers like that until you get to DeMarcus Cousins who averaged 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. For Millsap, you couldn’t have asked for more production in your first season with a new team.

Andre Drummond- Like Davis, Drummond is also a second-year player out of Connecticut and he has already made a big impact in the NBA. The center for the Detroit Pistons has been a force on the defensive side of the ball with 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. He also had a career-high 13.5 points and 13.2 rebounds per game this year. Although the Pistons had a terrible season, it should not overshadow Drummond’s efforts.

I guess the main reason why Noah ultimately won Defensive Player of the Year was because of his impact to the whole team. Chicago has one of the best defenses in the NBA, all because of him. Every night, Noah gives 100 percent effort and that’s why his Bulls are thriving even without scorers like Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. Some other players you could have thrown in the mix for this award could be Chris Paul (led the NBA in steals per game), Serge Ibaka, Paul George, but Noah definitely deserves this award. Now we wait for Rookie-of-the-Year and MVP (which should be Kevin Durant in my opinion).

MLS Quarter Update

It’s almost a quarter of a way through the MLS regular season and things are starting to heat up for certain teams. Let’s go through the top teams and the top games that have been played so far. Clubs are beginning to establish their dominance in the league, so let’s see what has made them so dominant so far.

One of the most exciting games recently was when FC Dallas defeated Toronto FC 2-1 thanks to a late game-winning goal by Blas Perez in the 88th minute. Perez entered in the 70th minute for David Texeira and scored his third goal of the season when the ball fell to his feet 3 yards from the goal line and the rest was history. With that win, Dallas stays on top of the Western Conference table with a 5-1-1 record. Perez actually sat out of the 3-2 loss to Seattle back in April 12, because of a hamstring injury. For him to come back from injury and rejuvenate the Dallas club was crucial to this team’s recent success. They lead the league in goals scored with 17. As for Toronto, they stay even at 3-3, but they are still 3rd in the Eastern Conference table with that standing.

The 33-year-old from Panama has started 4 games and has recorded 3 goals and 1 assist this season. Credit: sportsillustrated.cnn.com
The 33-year-old from Panama has started 4 games and has recorded 3 goals and 1 assist this season.
Credit: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Staying in the Eastern Conference, defending MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City takes a share of the top seed with Columbus after a 4-0 drubbing of the winless Montreal Impact. Dom Dwyer of Kansas City scored the last two goals of the game in the 74th and 86th minute. He has now scored four goals in his last four matches.

Kansas City would have remained alone at the top if it were not for Hector Jimenez of the Columbus Crew scoring in the 90th minute against D.C. United to tie it up at a 1-1 draw. They were able to pull through even with just 10 men on the pitch after Bernardo Anor was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Perry Kitchen in the 81st minute. Both Columbus and Kansas City play Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Columbus will play at home against New York while Kansas City will travel to New England.

Two of the top goal scorers in the league squared off when Seattle took on Chivas USA. Dempsey is tied with Erick Torres with 6 goals. The Sounders won the battle and improved to a 4-1-2 record after Clint Dempsey found Obafemi Martins in the 81st for the game-winner.

Another late rally could be found at the Vancouver Whitecaps and L.A. Galaxy game. After an explosive 2nd half, the Whitecaps rallied back to break even with the Galaxy in the 86th minute for a 2-2 draw. Substitute player Kekuta Manneh scored the game-tying goal to put Vancouver on top of the L.A. Galaxy in the Western Conference standings. The Whitecaps are 2-3-2 while the Galaxy drop to 2-2-1.

Wednesday night should bring a lot more action from the MLS. Teams are fighting for top position and some other teams are trying to get out of their early season slumps. Look for superstars like Dempsey and Jermain Defoe to step up their game as the middle of the season inches closer. Stay tuned!

 

2014 NBA Playoff Match-Ups

The NBA playoffs are finally here! This is where the games really matter. The 1-seeds are the Indiana Pacers for the East and San Antonio Spurs for the West. Miami just dropped down to a 2-seed after losing three games in a row to end the regular season. Oklahoma City fell three games behind San Antonio, but they did end the season with a 112-111 win over the Detroit Pistons last night where Kevin Durant went off for 42 points. Speaking of 42, that’s how many consecutive games Durant scored 25 points or more. That streak is longer than what Michael Jordan did in that magical 1986-87 season. The small forward’s streak ended at Sacramento on April 8th where he scored only 23 points in the 107-92 win. Durant also wins the NBA scoring title for the 4th time, averaging 32 points per game. He also finished with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, leading the Thunder to a 59-23 record with Russell Westbrook gone most of the season. Look for Durant to finally win that coveted NBA MVP award that has eluded him so many times. The Thunder will play the Memphis Grizzlies this Saturday in the first round of the playoffs at 9:30 P.M.

This year, the Memphis Grizzlies did pretty well under first-year head coach David Joerger. His Grizzlie’s squad ended up 3rd in points allowed, making them one of the most underrated defenses in the league. The team finished 50-32 and ended the regular season on a 5-game winning streak (tied with Portland Trail Blazers). Their last game was a 106-105 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Zach Randolph finished the game with 27 points and 14 rebounds, his 47th double-double of the season. The big power forward averaged a double-double in the regular season with 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Look for him to step up big in the upcoming game against the Thunder.

Randolph leads his team in both points and rebounds. Credit: forums.celticsblog.com
Randolph leads his team in both points and rebounds.
Credit: forums.celticsblog.com

Staying in the West, San Antonio finished the season with the best record in the NBA at 62-20. Gregg Popovich’s squad led the league in assists with 25.2 per game and ranked 6th in both points scored and points allowed. With Tim Duncan dominating inside and Tony Parker running the offense, there is no telling how far they could go this year. Their first test will be Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks on Easter Sunday at 1:00 P.M.

The other 1-seed, Indiana, finished the season on a high note, winning their last two games of the season and landed a 56-26 record. Their defense has been the talk of the NBA. They are 2nd in points allowed per game and are 8th in rebounds per game. The addition of injury-prone Andrew Bynum actually worked out pretty well in their favor. They were able to put big-man Roy Hibbert on the bench and still produce great numbers with Bynum snagging 9.5 rebounds a game. Speaking of Hibbert, he only missed one game this entire season and was very productive with 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. The Pacers will play the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday at 9 P.M. They are expected to easily win this series, seeing that the Hawks are the only team in the playoffs with a losing record of 38-44.

Hibbert finished 4th in the NBA in blocks per game. Credit: archive.indystar.com
Hibbert finished 4th in the NBA in blocks per game.
Credit: archive.indystar.com

I thought that the biggest surprises this year were the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats. Both of these teams were horrible last year (none of these two teams had more than 30 wins in 2012-13). Led by point guard John Wall, the Wizards have a 5-seed and a 44-38 record. They will play against the Chicago Bulls, who have won 8 of their last 10 games. As for the Bobcats, Al Jefferson has been a great addition to this club. He has led the team in points (21.8) and rebounds (10.8) and has provided veteran leadership for this team. After putting up solid numbers in Boston, Minnesota and Utah, the 6’10 center might have finally found a home in North Carolina. His Bobcats squad will play the Miami Heat on Easter Sunday at 3:30 P.M. The last time Jefferson played against the Heat, he put up monster numbers with 38 points and 19 rebounds in the 124-107 loss back on March 3rd. He will have to elevate the play of his team around him if they want to defeat the NBA Final-favorites.

Jefferson finished this season with 21.8 points per game which is the second highest average in his career. Credit: usatoday.com
Jefferson finished this season with 21.8 points per game which is the second highest average in his career.
Credit: usatoday.com

As for the other playoff match-ups, the Los Angeles Clippers will play the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets will square off against the Portland Trail Blazers and the surging Toronto Raptors will take on the Brooklyn Nets, a team that has struggled to beat opponents within its own conference. In the NBA, there’s always at least one upset. This year, I can’t truly predict who will rise and who will fall, but I will promise you this: it will be a fantastic playoff run this year.

College Football Players on the rise

These guys decided to come back for their senior or junior year to give college football fans some more action. Besides Jameis Winston, below are the top college football players and future NFL prospects that people should pay close attention to. They just might see a star in the making. These are the top five college football players to watch out for in 2014:

1. Marcus Mariota The upcoming senior Oregon quarterback shocked a lot of people when he said he wouldn’t go up for the NFL draft. He probably wanted a better finish to his collegiate career than spraining his knee in a loss to Stanford. He is a dual-threat quarterback that led the nation in QBR with 89.5 in 2013. The Hawaiian product threw for over 3,600 yards and 31 TDs with only 4 picks last year. He will be battling Winston for the Heisman trophy next year.

2. Todd Gurley This bruiser at running back will have to carry Georgia’s offense this year without the help of quarterback Aaron Murray. We saw great flashes of brilliance from Gurley before a knee injury slowed him down midway through the season. When healthy, he was very tough to bring down, averaging six yards per carry with 10 touchdowns. The Tarboro, N.C. product is entering his junior season at Georgia with very high hopes for the Bulldogs. He will make an excellent running back in the NFL with his punishing style of play.

3. Eric Striker With a name like that, why wouldn’t you watch him play linebacker? As a sophomore at Oklahoma last year, he led the team in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (10.5). He is destined to make big plays on defense and will have a lot of success under Bob Stoops. Striker ended his sophomore season with a breakout performance in the Sugar Bowl, recording three sacks and a forced fumble that sealed the win. He boasts superb speed and instincts and will trigger a Sooners defense that has a lot of returning starters in 2014.

4. Randy Gregory As a college transfer student, Gregory had 10.5 sacks in his first year at Nebraska, which led the Big Ten conference. Considering that was just his first season with the team, look out for him being one of the top pass rushers in the country. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and should be in the mix for national awards in 2014.

5. T.J. Yeldon People forgot about this guy last year because Alabama didn’t win a championship. It’s hard to forget 1,235 yards and 14 TDs. This junior running back will help guide the Crimson Tide to another successful season and will have to carry the load with the absence of quarterback A.J. McCarron. Yeldon is looking to break out next year into one of the next great Alabama running backs, joining the likes of Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacey.

Entering his senior year, Braxton Miller threw for over 2,000 yards and 24 TDs. Credit: articles.chicagotribune.com
Entering his senior year, Braxton Miller threw for over 2,000 yards and 24 TDs.
Credit: articles.chicagotribune.com

There are a lot more college football players to watch out for next year, but these guys will deliver the goods. Quarterbacks such as Brett Hundley from UCLA and Braxton Miller from Ohio State should provide next year’s NFL draft class with some excellent choices. The number one high school recruit from 2013, Robert Nkemdicheshowed flashes as a freshman for the Rebels, recording two sacks and eight tackles for loss. He will definitely develop entering his sophomore season. Then there were guys who popped out of nowhere like North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer. As a true freshman, he led the nation in punt return average (20.9 YPR) and punt return touchdowns (5), which is three more than any FBS player. He also became the first North Carolina true freshman since 1977 to earn first-team All-ACC honors. So you never know who will step up in the world of college football. August here we come!

Christian Athlete of the Week: Tim Howard

Tim Howard is one of the best goalies the U.S. Soccer team has ever had. The 34-year-old has been part of the American national team since 2002 and later established himself as first-choice and started all of the United States’ games at the 2010 World Cup as they reached the Round of 16. He has made 97 total appearances for the U.S. team in international play and plays for the English Premier League club Everton. Before coming to Everton, he was noticed by Manchester United, where he made 45 appearances from 2003-2007.

Although Howard is known to make saves on the soccer field, there was One who saved him. The goalkeeper’s Christian faith was first noted when he won the MLS Humanitarian of the Year in 2001 for his work with children who have Tourette’s. Howard himself was diagnosed with Tourette’s when he was in middle school and he does what he can to help others who were in his position. He has also been known to publicly profess his faith to those around him.

“I’m certainly just a vehicle for Christ,” Howard said, “and He moves me and the Spirit moves me in miraculous ways — that’s from dealing with Tourette’s syndrome to the pressures playing on a level like this and in England in the Premiere League. I just try to rely on faith.” (Credit: christianexaminer.com)

Howard knows that his talents and abilities would been for nothing if it wasn’t for Christ moving through him. The American goalkeeper has been very blessed throughout his long career, playing in big games and living in big moments. Through it all, he knows the One who is bigger than anything he has ever faced.

“The most important thing in my life is Christ,” Howard said. “He’s more important to me than winning or losing or whether I’m playing or not. Everything else is just a bonus.” (Credit: His book “Tim Howard: The Goalkeeper”)

Howard is also involved with Athletes in Action, a ministry arm of Campus Crusade for Christ. These organizations use sports as a platform to help people answer questions of faith and point them to Jesus. Howard has certainly been a big part of that and his walk with Christ is what inspires those around him.

“I’m not perfect. I’m far from it and that is the reason I do need Jesus. I try to live it,” Howard said. “I stumble, as many people do, but always in the belief that I’m loved and that I’m meaningful. Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that’s the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding.”

(Credit: christianexaminer.com)

 

Barcelona Eliminated from Champions League

Atletico Madrid reaches the UEFA Champions League semifinals for the first time in team history thanks to a 1-0 win over La Liga rival Barcelona. The goal came very early in the match thanks to Koke’s goal in the 5th minute. It was the 22-year-old’s only goal of the tournament and what a time to score one. Atletico Madrid was able to attain this victory without their star player Diego Costa, which shows Diego Simeone’s ability to adapt as a manager. Barcelona came into this game as favorites, but were unable to score a goal for the first time in this tournament.

In the other deciding match, Bayern Munich defeated Manchester United 3-1 yesterday as well. No one scored until Patrice Evra of Man U came through in the 57th minute. But after that, it was all Bayern Munich. Mario Mandzukic scored two minutes later, Thomas Müller scored in the 68th minute and Arjen Robben finished it off in the 76th minute. Pep Guardiola’s squad led an offensive attack against Manchester United with 25 shots (5 on goal) and 11 corner kicks. Bayern also dominated in possession, holding the ball for 65 percent of the match.

The final four teams are set with Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Real Madrid. Atletico Madrid looks to be the underdog of this tournament, having never made it this far in club history. Without their leading scorer, there is doubt that they will make it any further. Bayern Munich looks to be the favorite, having one of the best offensive teams out of these four as well as a steady goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer. With superstars like Franck Ribéry, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Arjen Robben and leading scorer Mario Mandzukic Bayern should easily win this year’s Champions League Final. Real Madrid is a sure favorite with Cristiano Ronaldo playing one of his best seasons ever, leading La Liga with 31 goals. Karim Benzema has also been a great help. He is currently 5th in La Liga with 17 goals scored. Eden Hazard has been carrying his Chelsea team as of lately. He leads the club in both goals (14) and assists (7). Demba Ba (who is likely to leave Chelsea after this season) scored the game-winning goal in the last game against Paris-Saint Germain. Having the other Chelsea players step up in these big moments could propel them to the top. It’s time to see who the top soccer club in Europe really is.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Ricardo Kaká

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (better known as Ricardo Kaká) used to be one of the top soccer players in the world before injuries slowed him down and other top players started replacing him. Before all that, he was known as the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007. During that year, the attacking midfielder was in his first tenure with A.C. Milan and scored 19 goals and 12 assists and that’s including internationally with the country of Brazil. After that year, he was transferred to Real Madrid for the second largest transfer fee of all time. He had a lot of success there until other superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema took over the team. Now, Kaká is playing for A.C. Milan again where on January 7th, 2014, he scored his 100th goal for the club and then 30 minutes later scored another against Atalanta. He currently has 7 goals and 4 assists for his team.

The Brazilian soccer player is known much more than his play on the pitch. He is known to publicly profess his faith by wearing a T-shirt under his jersey that reads: “I Belong to Jesus.” He also wears Adidas cleats that say on the side: “Jesus in First Place.” Kaká is a devout evangelical Christian who was an active member of the São Paulo-based Rebirth in Christ Church. He decided to live his life for Christ at the young age of 12.

“I learned that it is faith that decides whether something will happen or not,” Kaká said. “To those who already have Jesus: you have made the best choice and are in the best team. Go ahead. Do not give up. The fight is great, but we can only win being on Jesus’ side. To those who have not yet surrendered their lives to Jesus: What are you doing being outside of this team?! Come to learn the Word of God, come to know who God really is. Stop eating cookies, while God offers us a banquet.” (Credit: beliefnet.com)

He’s been the Italian league’s Player of the Year twice, Europe’s top scorer of the year twice, and FIFA’s World Player of the Year. After winning all of those prestigious awards, he is humble in his walk with Christ, always thanking him for the win through prayer and wearing clothes that glorify Him. Since November 2004, he has served as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN’s World Food Programme, the youngest to do so at the time of his appointment. He is also part of various charities such as Goal4Africa, United Nations Development Programme and THORN (which helps abolish modern day slavery, punish perpetrators and free the innocent and exploited victims). Kaká is definitely a great influence to the world, seeing that soccer is the most popular sport on the globe. The 31-year-old hopes to continue living his life through Jesus as he keeps playing soccer for A.C. Milan.