by Michael Martens as told to Maddie Schaafsma
photography by Maddie Schaafsma
My name is Michael Martens and I am a senior here at Timothy Christian High School. I have been on the Varsity Soccer team since freshman year, although I have been practicing with the Varsity team since sixth grade.
I am one of the five men committed to Wheaton College’s soccer team for the 2018 season. The other four players are coming from all across the country.
I’ve always had a passion for soccer. I have been playing since third grade and have had a soccer ball at my feet ever since. Soccer has taught me discipline and leadership on and off the field. After my experience playing here at Timothy, it was clear to me that I wanted to play in college.
Wheaton was my first college visit, and it was also my last. As soon as I stepped on campus and met the soccer coach, I knew it was the place I was meant to be. I did not have to look for other colleges. Wheaton is a place where I can continue a solid Christian education and at the same time continue my soccer career.
Twenty-eight players from Wheaton College have received a professional soccer contract. If I received a professional contract after playing there for four years, of course, I will take it. If not, I know God is leading me and guiding me to where he wants me to be. I have and will continue to put total faith in Him.
If it were not for the Timothy Christian Soccer program, I’m not sure I would be who I am today or ready to play in college. My teammates, my coach, and everyone else in this program has had such a major impact on me. I have a strong, faith-based relationship with every player on the field.
Team bonding and service to the community is what holds this soccer program together. Before and after practice we gather together in prayer. We pray for safety and we pray we will glorify God together with our work on and off the field. Before every game day we have pasta parties, where we gather with one another for dinner with anticipation for the game the next day.
Each year our team is invited to play in the PepsiCo Showdown Tournament in Chicago. The highlight is not playing in the tournament, but in fact the service that happens afterwards. Each team is paired up with another team that is playing in the tournament and we are given money to do a service project. Last year we served the homeless food and gave out letters of encouragement to them.
I am one of three captains this year and I am confident in my abilities to lead the team into a strong season. This confidence was planted in me because of the guidance I have had from Coach Fernandes over the past four years. He has taught me perseverance through all obstacles, how to show my faith on the soccer field, how to encourage and lead others, and so many more values and morals I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I have no doubt that Timothy has not only prepared me to be an academically prepared disciple at Wheaton College, but a strong soccer player in their program. I am not ready to leave behind this amazing, close-knit community, but I am ready to see what Wheaton has in store for me. I’m Michael Martens and that’s my Timothy story.