The Universal Power of Sport

By Emily Cole

Soccer is the world’s game, a universal language as profound as a smile.  I have been blessed to play and coach at many levels, but nothing taught me this truth like playing pick-up soccer in Ethiopia.  Not a cleat in sight, no fancy uniforms or even a net in goal.  The field was dirt, sidelines scratched in by kids with sticks.  We faced off not knowing names or speaking the same language, but the moment the game began – one ball, one heartbeat of love for the game, one shared understanding of how to dance this dance regardless of where we had come from or how we had learned to play – it felt as much like home as any I’ve ever called my own.  The game went on and on, who even knew the score?  I wanted it to never end, one of the finest memories of my life.  

It turns out we do speak the same language, all of us.  The love of play, the desire to work together to do hard things, the propensity to dream of futures better than our todays.  The experience of traveling, volunteering, sharing, connecting, and learning other ways of being is a way to come home to the deepest truths in ourselves as we find, in the most foreign places, we are all in it together. 

Emily Cole will be joining a group of adventurous soccer-loving families for the next “The World Through Soccer” program in Costa Rica! Learn more about the Feb. 2020 trip, and how you can join this life-changing journey, here.

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