Christian Athlete of the Week: Adrian Peterson

The Minnesota Vikings’ running back has been carrying his team since he first got drafted in 2007. Adrian Peterson has over 10,000 career rushing yards and 86 touchdowns. His average yards per carry is 5.0 in his career, which is really good. This guy has been the most dominant running back in the NFL since 2008 and although he missed two games last year, Peterson still ran for over 1,200 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. He has not gone a single season where he scored single-digit rushing touchdowns. Not only that, but he’s also the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher after spending just seven seasons with the team. He is a great athlete and an even greater person. Peterson has always been outspoken about his faith in Jesus Christ. The 29-year-old from Texas has grown in the faith since his rookie season and he continues to be a Christian ambassador in the NFL.

Jesus Christ means the world to me,” Peterson said. “I’ve been through so many different situations through my childhood and now my adulthood. God just helped me get through them and made me stronger at a young age. Through all the adversity and hard times I’ve been through, God has always been present. I’ve always prayed to Him and asked Him to give me the strength to endure and to help others and to better understand whatever situation I deal with in my personal life. And He has always showed up! It brings hope and peace of mind knowing that God gave His only begotten Son for us.”

For more on Adrian Peterson’s relationship with Jesus Christ, check out this video below:

Adrian Peterson is also a big fan of helping out his local community. He started the All Day Foundation to raise awareness and funds for programs that inspire hope and build a better future for at-risk children, with a special focus on girls’ empowerment. He has been a great role model to the young women and has taught them how to live good, healthy lives so that they can have a better future. Peterson’s work on and off the field have inspired many and he is personally one of my favorite NFL players.

Peterson has also been through a lot of tough times in his life. He watched his older brother get run over by a car when he was just seven years old and then in 2011, he suffered a torn ACL in a game against the Washington Redskins. Through all the trials and the pain, Peterson has always placed his faith in God to get him through the tough situations. When he went through the rehab on his torn ACL, Peterson had a positive attitude throughout the whole process.

“So many different times through the rehab where you know I was down, just spiritually, just my body, mentally, things that I had to do – whether it was different exercises, as far as strengthening my leg that was painful, that I just didn’t want to endure at the time,” Peterson said. “You know but you know you have those thoughts that go through your head. You got the devil – he’s out. He’s got those darts. So you can choose to bite on those or you can choose to block them out. Just listen to the thoughts that God put in there. But without Him during this recovery, I had no chance.” (Credit: CNS News)

Adrian Peterson will keep producing for his Minnesota Vikings team during the upcoming training camp and he will try to help lead his team to victory this year in the tough NFC North division.

USA Loses to Belgium in Extra Time

The United States have been knocked out of the FIFA World Cup by Belgium in the first round. Both teams were scoreless by the end of regulation, but Belgium was able to score two and the U.S. only scored one and after the dust settled, the final score was 2-1. The loss was a heartbreaking one after expectations were set pretty high for the men’s national team. In the 93rd minute, Kevin De Bruyne scored for Belgium to take the lead and then substitute striker Romelu Lukaku kicked one in 12 minutes later. The U.S. fought back when their substitute striker, 19-year-old Julian Green, knocked in his first international goal on his first touch to give his team a spark of hope. However, time ran out for the United States and their World Cup journey has come to an abrupt end.

Superstar goalkeeper Tim Howard had one of the best performances of his career with 16 saves. That’s the most by any goalkeeper in the World Cup since 1966! However, he couldn’t do it all by himself and the United States’ offense couldn’t produce anything during regulation time after both Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski had chances to score late in the game.

The U.S. team will have to wait another four years and hopefully Tim Howard will remain in good form by then. He is currently 35 years old and is getting near the end of his soccer career. Clint Dempsey should definitely return, but he will be 35 by the time the World Cup comes back around in 2018 at Russia.

One of the biggest struggles facing the men’s national team was Jozy Altidore’s hamstring injury in the first game against Ghana. Latest news says that he will be good to go for Sunderland’s next match. In 2018, Altidore will have to emerge as America’s top soccer player at the age of 28. For now, he is a 24-year-old looking to make his impact in the world of soccer. Other players like Graham Zusi, Michael Bradley and John Anthony Brooks will definitely return for the next World Cup and will be a big help for the United States in other international matches. Hopefully next time, the U.S. will have a good solid foundation to work with against other international clubs.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Drew Brees

Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints are expected to win the NFC South this year with a great roster and a great coaching staff. Brees has always been a consistently good quarterback in the NFL and one of the elite players at his position. The 35-year-old from Austin, Texas has had quite a prolific career with 51,081 yards and 363 touchdowns and he still has a couple of seasons left in him. He is obviously the leader of the Saints, with a Super Bowl win under his belt and breaking the passing yards record in 2011 and also broke Johnny Unitas’ record of throwing a touchdown pass in 48 consecutive games the very next season. His last three seasons have been terrific as he has thrown for at least 5,100 yards and 39 touchdowns every year. Brees’ stats are amazing, but what’s even more amazing is his faithfulness to God. Here’s a video clip of Brees sharing his testimony with a reporter:

Having Brees come from San Diego to New Orleans was a huge blessing for that city. Brees even said it himself that he was being “called” to go there. The quarterback has always tried to be a good example to his teammates and to the people of New Orleans. He is known to volunteer to help rebuild the city after hurricanes have come through over and over again. He is seen as a great man that has a heart and passion for the Lord for his work off the field in New Orleans.

At first, Brees did not want to get released by the Chargers, but he realized afterwards that it was God’s plan all along to have him serve at New Orleans.

“A year later, I thought, ‘God that was probably the best thing that happened to be,’ because otherwise I never would have had the opportunity to come here and be a part of this community and this rebuilding effort,” Brees said. (Credit: Christian Post)

Brees has done a lot in the New Orleans community and hopes to do more for them by winning some football games this upcoming year. It will be a tough division with the rise of the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers right on their heels, but Brees is used to the pressure and has overcome many obstacles in his path before.

“Trust that He’s never going to put anything in front of you that’s too hard for you or He wouldn’t put it in front of you,” Brees said.

 

Christian Athlete of the Week: Clint Dempsey

The USA team tied with Portugal 2-2 last night in a heartbreaking effort. A win would have put the U.S. in the World Cup knockout stage. History could have been made, but it was all for naught when Portugal scored on a header in the 94th minute. Clint Dempsey, the team’s captain and starting striker, scored what could have been the game-winner in the 81st minute. His performance in the World Cup right now is inspiring. However, the one thing that inspires Dempsey is Jesus Christ.

Dempsey was born and raised in Texas where he played for one of the best youth soccer clubs in the state, the Dallas Texans. He played for Furman University and ended up getting drafted by the New England Revolution in the 2004 MLS Draft. From there, Dempsey has been a superstar soccer player. He is the second American player to score a goal in two different World Cups and the first to score in three World Cups. The 31-year-old has now scored 39 international goals in 107 appearances for the U.S. National team. The attacking midfielder has always credited his success on the field to the One who gave him his incredible talents.

“I play to the best of my abilities and am thankful for the many opportunities and amazing success God has given me,” Dempsey said. “Through it all, I want to do right, not make mistakes, and live a life that is pleasing to Him.”

Dempsey grew up as a Roman Catholic and knew about Christ through his grandmother. He also said that there have been times where God has tested his faith, including the loss of his 16-year-old sister.

“My parents had started me in the sport to help me learn good people skills,” said Dempsey to Sports Spectrum, “Little did I know that the sport I loved and the skills I learned would later play a role in my relationship with God. I grew up in a Catholic family and would go to church with my grandmother every Sunday. Through her, I learned that faith was important. When I was 12 years old, my life took a turn that would change me forever. My sister, Jennifer, died from a brain aneurysm and I was faced with questions about why things happen and what role God played in it all. For a number of years, I struggled and put distance between God and me. But He was faithful and patient and provided gradual healing and strength.”

When Dempsey attended Furman, he joined a Bible study and it was there where he gave his life to Christ.

“God’s Word brought me peace and a desire for a relationship with Him,” said Dempsey. “I found that questioning Him and searching for answers through Scripture helped me grow and gave me direction. Now my faith in Christ is what gives me confidence for the future. I know that through both good times and bad, He is faithful and will watch over me.”

Dempsey’s life has been a great testimony to what God has done for him. He has been blessed with the abilities of a superstar soccer player and now he will lead his team against Germany this Thursday. He is going to need a lot of prayer!

Spain Eliminated from the World Cup

After losing to Chile 2-0, Spain has been knocked out of contention for the World Cup. The defending champions were considered a dominant soccer powerhouse entering this tournament, but after getting blown out of the water by Netherlands 5-1 last Friday, it will be impossible for them to bounce back in their Group Stage. This is not the first time a defending champ has been knocked out of the group stage. Italy suffered in the last World Cup in 2010 and France did not make the knockout stage of the tournament in 2002. However, this is the first time in World Cup history where the defending champion is eliminated after just two games.

This travesty happened when Eduardo Vargas scored early in the 20th minute and then Charles Aranguiz closed out the first half with another goal in the 43rd minute for Chile. From there, Spain’s offense couldn’t recover and the team was devastated by the loss. Head coach Vicente del Bosque had led Spain to glory at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, but this year he couldn’t garner any success. Spain will have to wait four more years for their chance, but by that time, veteran players like Andres Iniesta and Xavi might retire. World Cup fans will be excited to see who will take the crown this year, now that the defending champs are no longer in contention.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Alfred Morris

The Washington Redskins recently wrapped up their OTAs and are now getting ready for the upcoming training camp. Running back Alfred Morris is one of those Redskins looking to make an impact this season. In his rookie year, Morris carried the ball 335 times for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those yards were third-most by a rookie running back in NFL history! That year was also the best performance by a Redskins running back in the franchise history! Clinton Portis had 1,516 yards rushing back in 2005 for Washington. Morris has already established himself as an elite back with 1,275 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. With him and Robert Griffin III, the Redskins have one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL.

While Morris has done so many great things on the football field, he still stays humble and true to Jesus Christ. Here is a video below on why Morris is a believer:

Morris is so humble, that he still drives a 1991 Mazda. It shows that he knows where he came from and he’s not ashamed of it. As Christians, we should never be ashamed of who we came from, which is God. He has given us life and it is our duty to live it out how He wants us to.

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Morris grew up with almost nothing. His family was living in poverty and Morris had to endure a lot of hardships during his childhood.

“My family didn’t have much, but we had each other, and that was really all we needed,” Morris said. “My six brothers and I loved to be outside playing every sport imaginable, sometimes even inventing our own games. I can still remember playing football in the yard with my brothers and cousins, dreaming of one day playing in the NFL.” (Credit: crossmap.christianpost.com)

His bond with his family was all that Morris had. Fortunately, he was able to perform well enough in high school to get a full-ride scholarship to Florida Atlantic University. Morris was also a big supporter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school and immediately joined a college group as soon as school started. In his sophomore year in 2009, Morris had 1,392 yards and 11 touchdowns. That year put him on the radar for NFL scouts and he finished his collegiate career with 3,529 yards and 31 total touchdowns.

Morris fell all the way to the 6th round where he was drafted by Coach Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins. From there, things took off for Morris and his career has jumped to a great start. Not only that, but his work off the field has garnered positive attention as well. He’s been known to handing out free toys to kids before Christmas and hand out free coats to kids in local hospitals. His heart is truly supported by a passion for God.

“Anytime I get an opportunity to give back, I give back,” Morris said in an interview during the Marine toy giveaway. “My heart for giving was shaped by others who gave to my family. I saw how selfless they were. It is not always about receiving, but giving, so every time they have some type of event to give, I am always there.” (Credit: Washington Post)

Morris is truly a great role model to look up to. He has a servant’s heart for Christ and is very humble about how he lives his life.

USA wins first World Cup Group Stage Match against Ghana

The United States started their World Cup journey with a bang, beating Ghana 2-1 in the Group G Stage match. Team Captain Clint Dempsey scored the first goal in under a minute to put USA up 1-0. It goes down as the fastest goal scored by an American in World Cup history! Then for the rest of the match, it was pretty much USA playing great defense until the 82nd minute when Andre Ayew of Ghana scored, breaking the hearts of almost every American fan. He was assisted by Asamoah Gyan on the play. However, the United States’ team would not go down lightly. Four minutes later, American substitute Graham Zusi found fellow substitute John Brooks on a corner kick that Brooks’ headed in the middle of the box. The 21-year-old defender scored his first World Cup goal and what a goal it was! The United States would hang on for the last several minutes, clinching their first victory.

USA did a horrible job of possessing the ball and had too many fouls, but they were able to overcome all of those mistakes to beat Ghana. The United States will play Portugal on June 22 at 6 p.m. while Ghana will have to take on Germany the day before at 3 p.m. Both matches will be tough to handle, but if the Americans can believe that they can win, then they will do just that.

 

Spurs Beat Heat in NBA Finals

The San Antonio Spurs won their 5th NBA Finals against the Miami Heat last night, winning 104-87 in Game Five. 22-year-old small forward Kawhi Leonard took home the Finals MVP Award. He is the youngest player to win the award since his teammate Tim Duncan did it back in 1999. Magic Johnson was the youngest, winning the Finals MVP his rookie year in 1980. Leonard proved to everyone that he is a force to be reckoned with for years to come. In the first two games of the series, he put up average numbers. But in Game Three, he flipped a switch and became a dominant player! In the series, Leonard averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game and shot 61 percent from the field. His best game was Game Four where he scored 20 points, racked in 14 rebounds and had three steals and three blocks. Leonard is going to be a superstar in the NBA for a very long time if he keeps playing with his aggressive style.

Tim Duncan and Coach Gregg Popovich won their 5th championship together at 38 and 65 respectively. Duncan becomes the second player in NBA history to win three championships in three different decades. John Salley was the first when he won with the Detroit Pistons in 1989, the Chicago Bulls in 1996 and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000. No one is absolutely sure if Duncan is going to retire, but if he does, he’ll look back on his career with no regrets. Riding off into the sunset is the way to go in professional sports (just ask John Elway and Ray Lewis)!

As for the San Antonio team, they broke NBA Finals records with their demolition of the Heat. They now hold the Finals record for highest field goal percentage, shooting 56 percent from the field and had the best average points per game differential with +14. This was truly a great win for the Spurs franchise. Congratulations to San Antonio and better luck next time Miami!

Kawhi Leonard Lifts San Antonio Spurs in Game Three

The San Antonio Spurs took Game Three over the Miami Heat last night, winning 111-92. That gives them the series lead at 2-1. The Spurs’ first half was one of the most phenomenal performances in NBA Finals history. The offense was so team-oriented that it left the Heat disoriented at halftime. The first quarter ended with the Spurs leading 41-25, an 86 field goal percentage performance, and then at halftime, the score was 71-50. The Spurs ended up shooting 76 percent on the field in the first half, an NBA Finals record that Coach Gregg Popovich said would never happen “ever again.” San Antonio did everything better than the Heat. They had a better field goal percentage (59.4), better free-throw percentage (81.2), had more rebounds (29) and less turnovers (12).

The only thing the Heat did right was through LeBron James. The two-time champ lead his team in points (22), rebounds (5) and assists (7). Miami also did well behind the three-point line, hitting 47.6 percent. James, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen did their part in that category, but the Heat couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole that they had put themselves in.

The biggest star of the night was 22-year-old Kawhi Leonard. He shot a career-high 29 points, had four rebounds, two assists and two steals. The last time he scored that many points was his senior year in high school! He was also the only player on the court that made double-digit field goals and he made six out of seven free-throws. Leonard was considered the X-Factor coming into this game. If he played well, the Spurs would win. Well he’s playing well and the Spurs are winning! If San Antonio wants to continue winning, Leonard will have to play his heart out every night and stay consistently aggressive on the court. Coach Popovich even called Leonard “the future of the franchise.” He’s playing like it right now.

So where exactly did Leonard come from? Well he was born in Los Angeles and attended Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, California. In 2009, he was named Mr. Basketball California his senior year, making him the 48th overall best prospect coming out of high school. He ended up going to San Diego State where he averaged 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds his freshman year while also shooting 45.5 percent from the field. He won the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Award and was the conference tournament’s MVP.

Leonard came out of college his sophomore year after averaging 15.7 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. He was originally drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 15th overall pick, but was almost immediately traded to the Spurs. The Pacers would end up getting George Hill through that trade. Since then, Leonard has been a solid player for the Spurs, but now he’s starting to turn into a great one. Keep an eye out on him as the NBA Finals Series continues this tomorrow night.

Halfway Point of 2014 MLS Season

We are almost halfway through the MLS regular season and teams are starting to show their worth in the league. On top of the Eastern Conference is the New England Revolution and then Sporting Kansas City right on their tails. In the West, there is the Seattle Sounders dominating the competition and the entire league with 10 wins, 3 losses and 2 ties. They are the only team in the league with double-digit wins. They are also the only team in the league averaging more than 2 goals a game.

Leading the Sounders are Obafemi Martins and U.S.A. superstar Clint Dempsey. Martins has played and started in all 15 games and has 8 goals with 6 assists. Dempsey has only started 8 games, but yet he has 8 goals also as well as 3 assists credited to his name. This one-two punch of Martins and Dempsey is the reason why Seattle is dominating the league in scoring goals. For defense, goalkeeper Stefan Frel is 7th in the league in saves, 7th in shutouts and 12th in goals allowed. They might not be incredible stats, but Seattle’s offense is the main reason why they have been winning so many games.

As far as the best striker in the game, Bradley Wright-Phillips of New York is tied with Dom Dwyer of Kansas City for the most goals with 11. Diego Valeri of Portland leads the league in assists with 8. The midfielder from Argentina also has two goals to his name.

The Eastern Conference still looks to be the weaker region in the league. Six teams have losing records while the West only has three teams that are below .500. Toronto F.C. has the best defense in the league, allowing only 13 goals scored against them. The problem is that their offense has not very productive as they are second to last in goals scored. That has given them the result of a 6-4-1 record.

Goalkeeper Luis Robles of the New York Red Bulls leads the league in saves with 53 and Jon Busch of San Jose looks to be a dominant keeper as well with 49 saves and only 14 goals scored against him. He also has four shutouts to his name. The only problem for Busch is his Earthquakes’ offense. They have only scored 15 goals this entire season which has put them at second-to-last in the Western Conference standings.

The player to watch out for is Obafemi Martins. When Dempsey is not on the field, Martins becomes the ultimate play-maker for Seattle. If he keeps playing like he is now, the Sounders could go as far as the championship game. Keep your eyes peeled on teams like D.C. United, New York and Portland who are right on the cusp of making the playoffs. The rest of this season will definitely be fun to watch for these reasons listed above.

The latest news and opinions on football, basketball, and soccer!