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Quechua FC Player Try-Out in Lima

At the end of 2021, we laid out some goals for the ministry in 2022, based on how we felt God leading us and the open doors we had in front of us. One of those goals was to sponsor at least one player from our Quechua FC academies to come to Lima and try out at a professional soccer team. We feel that our hardworking, talented players are deeply deserving of such an opportunity. This fits within our vision to EMPOWER young people from indigenous communities; we want to break down the barriers between them and reaching their maximum potential. It’s an open door to DISCIPLE our players more closely, and placing Christian young people in professional sports opens the door for EVANGELISM within a very hard-to-reach environment. When we had our first try out back in 2021, we brought a professional scout from Lima to watch our players and tell us who we should invest in. Out of 70 boys, he picked out just 2 who he felt really had a chance (at their current level) to make it in professional soccer in Lima. One of those was Miguel Tuanama, the starting center back for our QFC All Star team, son of Quechua FC Santa Cruz head coach Artidoro Tuanama. After seeing his discipline and consistency on the field for the past few months, we decided he was the right player to invest in. We brought Miguel T. to Lima at the beginning of May. He moved into our apartment while going daily to train with a professional team called Municipal. The coaches liked him right off the bat, and asked him to continue coming to train. He trained with Municipal for two full weeks, which is basically unheard of for a kid from the jungle with no prior experience in the pro soccer circuit. Our prayers were answered; he found favor there. There was just one problem; Miguel T. is only 5’9”, which is too short for a center back in professional soccer. The other center backs on the team had his same skill level, and were taller than him. The team ultimately decided that they wouldn’t need Miguel T. on their roster. Miguel T. has another try out opportunity in July. He went home to start training in other positions, in order to diversify his player profile and gain experience as a midfielder. The three weeks Miguel T. spent with us were a learning experience, for us and for him, and an amazing opportunity for in-depth discipleship. We talked with Miguel a lot about God’s plan for his life. We had the chance to pray with him and study scripture with him. He’s from a tiny village, and grew up in a very poor household, so we also got to live certain milestones with him: his first flight, his first time taking city buses, his first time trying different international foods, and more. We took him to see the ocean, to visit landmarks in Lima, and to get to know different areas. He said several times it was an experience he would never forget.

As he headed home, he was feeling the weight of returning to his small town and being branded as a “failure” because he didn’t make the team. We talked a lot about responding to criticism, perseverance in light of the July opportunity, and keeping his identity centered in Christ. He went home feeling motivated to keep working hard in order to make the most of the July try out opportunity. The other players at Quechua FC Santa Cruz are more motivated than ever to train hard, because now they know that if Miguel T. can make it to Lima through Quechua FC, they can too!

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