U.S. soccer team players open about their faith

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Several members of the U.S. National Soccer Team playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup are not shy about discussing their Christian faith. Following are quotes from five of them about their faith:

Clarence Goodson, defender. "Definitely you carry that around, your personal beliefs and faith, everywhere you go," Goodson said. "Just because you step onto the field doesn't mean that you put that aside and put them in the locker until you step off the field. So that's what I try to carry around with me all the time and behave in such a way that those who don't know Christ come to know Christ because they know me."

"We had a Bible study just before the game the other day and it was Psalm 23 and there's a verse in Psalm 23 — "my cup overflows" — it spoke about that and how fortunate we are as Christians, as Americans, and all the things that we have, and you travel to the game and you see the ghettos and how less fortunate others are and how important it is to give back."

"For me there's definitely a calm and a peace in knowing that there's Someone else Who is in control and all you have to do is do your best and God will do the rest. I absolutely think that it's a very good thing to just sit back and sort of focus on something else for a minute and know that we are blessed and we are fortunate."

Tim Howard, goalie. "I'm certainly just a vehicle for Christ," Howard said, "and He moves me and the Spirit moves me in miraculous ways — that's from dealing with Tourette's syndrome to the pressures playing on a level like this and in England in the Premiere League. I just try to rely on faith.

"I'm not perfect. I'm far from it and that is the reason I do need Jesus. I try to live it.... I stumble, as many people do, but always in the belief that I'm loved and that I'm meaningful."

"Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that's the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding."

Ricardo Clark, midfielder. "I've grown up to always have faith in whatever I do — on the field, off the field, it doesn't change, or I try not to make it change," Clark said. "Every day is a struggle with faith sometimes, but I try to have that foundation there, and it's helped me throughout everything; gives me courage, gives me strength in the good times and the bad times, on and off the field, and I try to push on through."

•  Brad Guzan, goalkeeper. "I obviously have a big belief in Christ, and I think for me it allows me to go out and enjoy what I do every day," Guzan said. "It allows me to play to the best of my ability. And like I said, it's a relationship that allows me to have fun, and I think it's definitely helped me get to where I am today."

"I am religious, but at the same time I try to go out there and be a good professional and play with the best of my ability. In saying that, I think I feel confident when I go out there and just try to enjoy the game and enjoy the moments that I'm in."

Herculez Gomez, forward. "I've learned that there are things that are not in my hands and you've got to leave them in God's hands," Gomez said. "He has a plan for you. ... [T]here's a quote that I remember growing up where it says for a rich man to get into heaven it's as hard as it would be for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, so it kind of makes me think like this is great, but there's still more out there; this isn't all there is, you still gotta do a lot more."

BP

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