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By Maddie Schaafsma

May 17, 2016:

Icy tears stung fifteen of the varsity soccer girls’ faces as they embraced each other with shaky hands and broken hearts. We’d just lost sectionals. We wouldn’t get a chance to play for a state title and we had to say goodbye to our five best players. But the rest of the returning players were ready to come back next year with a fiery spirit.

February 28, 2017:

It’s now the 2017 season. Although we’re not going for a state title, we’re on fire for Jesus.

Walking into tryouts, we were told we would have team devotions every Monday. We were handed a bright green book about the width of a pinkie. This book would make us think about our walk with God, make us ask each other hard questions, and make us be open with each other.

This slim green book is what brought our team together.

This year we were even given a theme verse, Hebrews 12.

Every week we talk about how we are unfinished. We as a team are unfinished in our journey as soccer players. But we are also unfinished in our journey as Christian disciples and our faith walk with Jesus.

So before and after every game, you’ll watch our team gather in a circle, link arms, and chant at the top of our lungs: “We are TC. We are not done.”

Captains Allison Zeilstra, Rachel Rink and Heather Kocol

Captains Allison Zeilstra, Rachel Rink and Heather Kocol

March 12, 2017:

The bold question that would be the center of our discussion was written on the board: Do you picture yourself running away from Jesus or running towards Jesus?

I can honestly say I’m neither running away from or towards Jesus. But rather running with Jesus. We can never be ahead of Jesus, but he’s always right there–knowing what we will face next and promising to never leave our side.

Most weeks we challenge each other to come up with a pre-church game plan. So our hearts are prepared for the service and sermon.

Each girl brings something important to the team: Alli: power. Heather: perseverance. Rachel: leadership. Robyn: kindness. Kaleigh: courage. Livi: energy. Nikki: happiness. Danielle: vibrance. Ellie: hardworking. Shayna: ambitious. Abby: passionate.

But this year our main goal is to not only display those qualities on the field, but to focus our gifts and talents in our walk with Jesus together.

April 18, 2017:

Sitting in a circle at halftime on Hinckley-Big Rock’s field we were frustrated and exhausted. The score was 3-0 against a team that was beatable.

Captain Heather Kocol stood up. “Guys, I’ll be the first to admit I get angry on the field,” she told us. “But I get angry because I care. My screams are screams of encouragement. I want you guys to love this game, love what you’re doing, and be the best you can be. You guys are my best friends and I love you all.”

After that talk we came back to the second half of the game with energy. We played as a team, and we had fun. Although we lost 4-3, we left that game knowing we gave it all we had in the second half.

Rachel Rink, Heather Kocol, and Alli Zeilstra are our captains this year, and are leaving big shoes to fill when they graduate. Not only are they role models on the field, but people I look up to and strive to be like off the soccer field. They carry themselves with confidence and grace and they are shining examples of John 13:35, which says: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Every game we play comes with hugs, tears, and a whole lot of sweat. But the thing we have most of is love for each other and commitment to not only this team, but our relationship with Christ.

Throw a soccer ball in the middle of us and magic happens.

We are Timothy Christian girls soccer. And we are not done.

About the author: Maddie Schaafsma, junior at Timothy Christian Schools, has attended TC since pre-school. She has been playing soccer all her life and has been on Timothy’s Varsity team since freshman year. Writing is her passion, and she hopes to be a reporter for ABC news one day! Above all, Maddie strives to serve and glorify the Lord in all she does.

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