U.S. soccer fans went wild on Monday as team captain Clint Dempsey scored a goal during the first minute of the club’s opening World Cup game against Ghana.
The goal is among the quickest in World Cup history and the fastest scored by an American during the World Cup games, adding to numerous records held by the acclaimed player, who is also the first American to score in three different World Cups.
Perhaps less well-known is the role that Dempsey’s Christian faith plays in his life.
“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,” he told Sports Spectrum in an article published May 16.
Dempsey started playing soccer at the age of 10 and quickly joined the Dallas Longhorns, a club team located three hours away from his home.
His parents worked hard to afford the expenses of club soccer, but he later gave up his sport so that his parents could support his sister Jennifer in her promising endeavors as a tennis player.
However, everything changed when Jennifer died at age 16 from a brain aneurism. Before she died, she told Dempsey, “(I)f I ever die I will help you get the ball in the net.”
Now, Dempsey plays in honor of his sister. “That’s why I look up to the sky now when I score – to remember her,” he told the Guardian in a 2010.
“I pray for strength to walk the road before me,” Dempsey told Sports Spectrum. “I play to the best of my abilities and am thankful for the many opportunities and amazing successes He has given me. Through it all, I want to do right, not make mistakes, and live a life that is pleasing to Him.”