Building Churches with Soccer Balls

Stories of Transformation

My name is Charles. I am a follower of Jesus. I had the privilege of playing soccer professionally in Morocco, Tunisia, and Ukraine in 2016 and 2017. My city isn’t just the capital of the state I live in, but historically it’s been a major center of commerce and Islam that has attracted Quranic scholars from throughout western Africa.

Prayer is the Foundation

As I was prayer walking over time, I sensed the needs of the youth of the city who often felt hopeless about their future. I began two compassion ministries to engage some Muslim youth who were hanging out in my courtyard, one through drama and the other through soccer.

At first, when I began to play pick-up games with them, they were surprised at my ability and began to ask me, “Why have you come? Will you come and teach us how to play like that?” So I challenged a couple of them to meet with me at 6 a.m. during the week and started to train them with different exercises and drills to improve their skills. Then I suggested that they invite some of their friends.

Discovery Bible Study

After a foundation of trust was built, I invited a few of them on Saturday to start a Discovery Bible Study (DBS). I also focused on building relationships with their parents. Most were very grateful for my assistance since their sons lacked discipline of all kinds. Over time they noticed that not only the boys’ discipline in soccer improved, but their discipline in other areas of life was improving as well, even in school.


But then when Ibrahim became one of my first disciples, his father – a local imam – put pressure on the owners of the stadium to refuse me entry for soccer practices. What’s worse is his father cut him off from his community and kicked Ibrahim out of his home.

At first, I took Ibrahim in, providing for him and paying his school fees. He worked hard and was very talented at soccer. I helped him enroll in a soccer boarding school in the country’s capital for two years. Eventually, Ibrahim was able to play soccer in Europe.


When Ibrahim was invited to play professionally in Europe, his parents changed their minds about my motives and allowed me access to land for a soccer field.  Through family and friends of the soccer players, five churches have now been planted.