Meet Our Athletes

Rachel West
F/ SO/ 5'8"/ Remsen, IA 

What is your major?
Bible/Theology

How old were you when you started playing basketball?
6 years old

Highlight of your sports career?
Joining the team here at Emmaus mid-season last year. Best season of basketball yet, with many more to come!

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have gone from being someone who only cares about how many points they score to caring about the team as a whole and what my role is on the team.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My mother – she was always pushing me to work hard, giving me constructive criticism (even when I didn’t want to hear it) and always rebounding for me throughout the years. Thanks, mom!

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Philippians 2:1-18 it reminds me to be humble, selfless and loving, just like Christ when he died on the cross for my sins. I’m also reminded to not complain or argue so that I can be a light for Christ in this world.


Sharon Tomlinson
G/ SO/ 5'4"/ Jackson Hole, WY 

What is your major?
Undecided

When did you start playing Basketball?
When I was a freshman in high school

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Favorite player: Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
Favorite teams: Rethymno Cretan Kings / Glasgow Rocks

Highlight of your sports career?
My entire freshman season at Emmaus was a highlight! I broke a lot of personal records and had so much fun!

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
The growth I've seen in myself in the 5 years I've played basketball has been mental, physical, and spiritual. God has given me an incredible adventure in the game of basketball!

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Sean Shockley - My coach my first 2 years in high school. He gave me the opportunity to play, even though I was clueless about the game. He also made an effort to give me as much knowledge of the game as possible, while challenging me to improve my skills.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
Philippians 3:12-4:1
This passage is a great reminder to me that we need to have an eternal perspective instead of focusing on our own pleasure and glory.


Madison Laib
G/ SO/ 5'7"/ Ankeny, IA 

What is your major?
Bible Theology/Computer Information Systems

When did you start playing basketball?
3rd grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
LA Clippers/Stephen Curry

Highlight of your sports career?
Scoring my 1000th point in high school, receiving 1st Team All American last year, and making great friendships.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I've seen myself grow through several hard times during basketball. Whether it is during a conditioning practice where I have to learn to persevere through the running, having a good attitude even if calls aren't going my way, or in situations off the court. Basketball has presented these hard times but has also given me fantastic teammates/friends to get me through them.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Laura Messerly was the first person that I knew who played high school basketball. From that point on, I knew I wanted to play in high school and farther. She took an interest in me, supporting me on and off the court; talking to me at church, having Bible studies with me, and coming to my basketball games.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I have so many weaknesses but I have also witnessed God using my weaknesses to almost force me to rely on Him even more. I've seen first-hand His power taking over my weakness and it is the most amazing feeling/experience ever.


Nakiah Kimble
G/ SO/ 5'4"/ Dubuque, IA 

What is your major?
Elementary Education

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball in 1st grade

What is your favorites sports team and/or player?
My favorite player is Stephen Curry

Highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my basketball career was having a life-size picture of me put up on a wall in Applebee’s during my freshman year of high school. Just recently, my face has been covered up by a poster.  

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
My attitude has changed a lot. I use to play basketball just for myself, but now I play for my team and to glorify God with the gifts he has given me.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My dad has impacted me the most. He has coached me since I was in 1st grade up to my Junior year of high school. He has taught me how to be a leader which I think has helped me with my position on any team I have played for. I learned to accept harsh criticism because I knew anything my dad said was out of love. I am very grateful that he has always been there for me, either coaching me or sitting on the sidelines watching me play the game I love.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”


Marissa Kerttula
GF/ FR/ 5'7"/ Helena, MT 

What is your major? 
Bible and Elementary Education

When did you start playing basketball? 
I started playing basketball with my siblings on our patio before I could even hit the rim. I started playing on a team when I was in 6th grade.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Golden State Warriors/Stephen Curry

Highlight of your sports career?
I don't really have one highlight, but the my favorite thing was being able to play with my sister and having some amazing sister plays.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing? 
I have grown from wanting to save something for the last quarter or the next game to being one who wasn't afraid of giving her all on the court.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you. 
Though many people have impacted my playing career, my parents are ones who have impacted me the most. My dad is the one who taught me how to shoot, dribble, pass, and become the player that I am today. My mom is the one who was diligent in getting me to every practice and she was always there to cheer me on. They have also helped me grow in the Lord-- not only in my everyday life, but also through basketball.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It tells me that in whatever circumstance, I am in to rejoice, pray, and give thanks because it is God's will.


Alli Howard
GF/ FR/ 5'7"/ Ankeny IA 

What is your major?
Secondary Education

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball in 2nd grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite sports player is Stephen Curry.

Highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my sports career was going 18-5 and getting second team all conference my junior year, and getting 1st team all conference (unanimous vote) and also first team all region my senior year.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have seen a ton of growth in my basketball skill the past three years. It just proves that hard work pays off!

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My dad has probably impacted me the most. He is always there to push me to workout, or to go shoot some hoops. He's the one that pushed me so I could play college basketball.

Favorite passage if scripture and why?
Proverbs 3:5-6 is my favorite passage of scripture. I love how it reminds us how we should always look to the Lord in all situations, and that He will be there for us no matter what.


Tiffany Hendriks
G/ FR/ 5'6"/ Pipestone, MN 

What is your major?
Psychology

When did you start playing basketball?
5th grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have learned to be a better team player

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
I would say the person who has influenced me the most would be Stephen Curry because he works hard and uses his abilities for God's kingdom and not himself.

Favorite passage of Scripture and why.
My favorite passage is Ephesians 5:15-16 because it reminds me to make the most of every opportunity and to not put it off until tomorrow, and to be smart in the decisions I make.


Shelby Hembera
F/ FR/ 6'0"/ Cedar Rapids, IA 

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball in fourth grade.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite player is Stephen Curry.

Highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my sports career would have to be my junior year when my team won our first game. It was such a great accomplishment since none of the girls had ever played before, and we all worked so hard to get that one win.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself throughout your years of playing? 
I feel much more confident on the court. I learned how to be a leader because many of the girls hadn't played before. Over the years, I've learned how to handle defeat with a positive attitude. My spiritual growth has really grown as well, and the Lord has really taught me patience each year. We always had some trouble finding enough girls to fill the team, but He always provided for us.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My coach, Craig Foote, has been the person who has really impacted me and my basketball career. He always gave up his time to help me learn new moves. He would stay after practice or come in on the weekend and help me with my shooting form. Hehas taught me to work hard and to do everything for the glory of God.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11. It gives me comfort knowing that God has a plan for my life, and it is going to be greater than anything I could ever imagine


Erin Edmondson
F/ SO/ 5'9"/ Murfreesboro, TN 

What is your major?
Business Administration with a minor in Archaeology

When did you start playing basketball?
I first remember shooting basketballs in my driveway when I was 5, but the first time I played on a team was when I was 8 or 9 years old.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite sports team is the Vanderbilt University Men's basketball team, and my favorite athlete is Roger Federer, who is the best tennis player in the world.

Highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my sports career is banking a lucky 3 at the end of the shot clock to put us back in lead in our final game of the national tournament last season

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
In my years of playing, I've seen myself grow in discipline,and in my ability to work with a diverse group of people.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My dad has had the most impact on me in my playing career. He has coached me on several teams, been willing to tell me how I need to improve my game, and taught me how to conduct myself as a player.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Philippians 1:19-30, because it reminds me that I am living for Christ, and not myself.


Hope Brown
G/ JR/ 5'4"/ Nikolaevsk, AK 

What is your major? 
Mathematics education

When did you start playing basketball? 
I first played basketball as a freshman at Northland International University.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player? 
I’m not really much of a fan, I’d rather play and support my own teammates. But if I had to name one team, I would go with the Detroit Redwings (I’m a little bit of a hockey nut).

Highlight of your sports career? 
Beating all my teammates at three-point knockout by hitting something like three out of my last four three-pointers. They were very supportive anyway-- a great bunch of teammates.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing? 
I have definitely grown a lot as a player. When I started playing freshman year, just making a layup in practice was an accomplishment for me. But more than that, God has used basketball to grow me spiritually. He has challenged me continually to change my motivation to play from a desire to have fun or look good or be important to a desire to honor God by the way I play and impact those around me.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Many people have impacted me greatly, but I would have to go with Coach (Rick Harrison) as impacting me the most. He taught me almost everything I know about basketball, and was always encouraging me and pointing out improvement. He always emphasized the importance of playing for God and was an example of it.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why? 
Micah 6:8, It is easy to become overwhelmed and confused while trying to live for Christ. When I lose my way, this verse reminds me to refocus on the simple things that honor God.


Clayton Wilson
G/ FR/ 5'11"/ Cedar Rapids, IA

What is your major?
One Year Bible Certificate, CIS

When did you start playing basketball?
4th Grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
San Antonio Spurs

Highlight of your sports career?
Playing and beating the Front Royal Flames 97-85 in the East Coast.
Homeschool Basketball Championships in Lynchburg, Virginia in March of 2015.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I've seen more leadership and confidence in my game and the willingness to be taught and listen in order to better myself as a player. I've also seen a resilient work ethic that has helped me in areas of my game where I'm not as talented as others.

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My coach through high school, Ray Vasser, has impacted me the most by teaching and mentoring me not only in things regarding basketball, but also about Jesus Christ and standing up for the truth.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Psalm 37:5 "Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him also and He will do it."
I like this verse because it's reminds me that if I fully rely on Christ and trust in Him, everything I need and want according to His will, will come on His timing.


Matthew Tomlinson
GF/ SO/ 5'11"/ Jackson Hole, WY 

What is your major?
Biblical Studies.

When did you start playing basketball?
When I was in 8th grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My friend Larry Nance Jr. who plays for the Los Angles Lakers.

Highlight of your sports career?
Being recruited to play football at Colorado or playing college basketball with my sister. 

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing
Understanding my role and being more of a leader on the court. Bringing the energy each and every night. Setting the tone defensively.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they influenced you.
Dusty Shockley, he is a long time coach back home in Wyoming and basically my second dad. He was and still has a huge influence in my life, he brought me to my faith in Jesus Christ. Always there for, most selfless man I know. Really helped me improve my game and make it to the college level!

Favorite passage of Scripture and why?
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.  You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 5:13–16. Its a good reminder that we (Christians) cannot disappear with our faith. We were put here on this earth to worship our Lord and Savior and spread His love and Word to all those who are lost.


Janti Tito
G/ SO/ 5'7"/ Houston, TX 

What is your major?
Computer Information Systems

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball in 9th Grade 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My Favorite player is Allen Iverson

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have learned to be an unselfish player because basketball is a team sport. I have also learned that everything will not always go the way I what, but I should never give up. 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Coach Lucas Wilkerson, Joel Smith, and my teammates. Coach Wilkerson and CoachSmith have impacted me in so many ways. In good games and in bad games, Lucas and Joel always remind the team that God is the one who has allowed the team to play, and our success is only made possible by His grace. My teammates encourage me on and off the basketball court. 

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
My favorite passage is Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
This is my favorite passage because trusting in the Lord with all my heart will take me in the right direction. By trusting in the Lord, he will guide me onto safe paths.


Stefon Spivey
G/ FR/ 5'9"/ Palm Bay, FL

What is your major
Business Administration 

When did you start playing basketball?
Kindergarten 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player? 
My favorite sports team is the Miami Heat. Which, of course, means that my favorite player is Dwayne Wade.

Highlight of your sports career? 
My biggest achievement in basketball was making the All-District team 

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing? 
I've seen myself become more confident in my abilities while playing basketball. I've become a natural leader because I love nothing more than to see my team be successful. 

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you. 
The person whose has most influenced me in my playing career has been my grandadand step dad. They have always made it possible for me to better myself on the court. Even the simple things like just showing up to watch me play and cheer me on has influenced me.

Favorite passage of scripture and why? 
My favorite verse is Philippians 4:13 because it motivates me through the hard times in my life.


Barak Smith
F/ FR/ 5'11"/ Hutchinson, KS 

What is your major?
Bible/Theology and Youth Ministry

When did you start playing basketball?
Freshman year of high school

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
WSU and Russell Wilson

Highlight of your sports career?
Being told by coach I was the hardest worker on the team.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
Gaining control over my anger, rather than being controlled by it. Trust in teammates, a bit more dedication, and quicker decisiveness. I have grown more in Christ and have learned more about him and his character. I am more aware of my brokenness and am reminded of Gods worthiness, holiness and power. I have learned to praise him even when I don't like my circumstances, and rejoice in suffering as it is the very best thing that could be happening.

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Kevin Wilson because he is always pushing to give everything and then find some more, and Corbin Yutzy by showing me what that looked like.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Psalm 51:13-17 because it reminds me that God uses me and my messes, that I can always come to Him, and that He will not turn away from me because I get dirty.


Skyler Sandry
G/ SR/ 6'0"/ Bettendorf, IA

What is your major?
Business Administration and Biblical Theology with a minor in Youth Ministry

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball at the ripe age of 4.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
St. Louis Cardinals, favorite players are Jordan Spieth (golf) and LeBron James.

Highlight of your sports career?
Highlight will come when I break the record for most assists in a season.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
My leadership has changed, my style of play has changed, and my attitude has changed. All for the better.

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My coach at Judson, Joel Cotton, who showed me Christ's love even when I was in a rut. He helped me find Christ, and has continued to help me in life. He also showed me what it means to play hard and physical all the time. He completely changed the way I play the game.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Philippians 4:13 because it reminds me of how powerful God is.


Caleb Ruter
G/ SR/ 6'1"/Hanover, MN 

What is your major?
Secondary Education History and Bible

When did you start playing basketball?
4th grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
San Antonio Spurs because they play as a team and there is no one who is selfish. I also love their defensive energy. Stephen Curry because he is humble and an exciting person to watch play. He has faith in his team, but also has faith in his ability.

Highlight of your sports career?
State track meet, doing the 4 by 200 and getting dominated, but it was still fun since it was state. Playing in many basketball tournaments and also playing college basketball with my father. My favorites highlights were when me and my father made a connection/play for one or the other to score.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
From when I first picked up a basketball until now, my senior year of college, I have seen much growth in myself. Through coaches, friends, and especially my father, I have been pushed to become who I am today. The growth that I have seen has been a steady increase, I would say, both in basketball IQ, abilities, and submission. When I say submission, I mean submitting to authority and trying to play the way coach wants to play while also playing the way I play. It’s important to be yourself and use your own skills as a player, but it is also important to play the way the coach wants you to play. I believe this is the key to succeeding in a higher level competition. Through my many years of basketball, this has seemed to be one of the hardest things for me to do. Today, I have become a much more submitted player and have used my skills to benefit players around me, and to also do what coach wants me to do.

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Without a doubt, my father has been the number one individual who has impacted me in basketball and in my spiritual life. He has helped me become the basketball player that I am today (his genes sure have helped) and also the Christian man that I am today. I mean, he even set me up with the woman that is now my wife. I couldn’t ask for a better Godly man and a better coach than my father.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
My favorite passage is probably Psalms 119: 9-16:

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

I love this passage because it shows the key to living a Godly life. Stay true to His Word and you will not fall.


Caleb Postma
G/ FR/ 5'10"/ Bryan, TX

What is your major?
Kinesiology

When did you start playing basketball?
7 years old

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite team is the Golden State Warriors and my favorite player is Stephon Curry. Not because they just won a championship or because he is the MVP, but because of his attitude on and off the court and because of the way the Warriors play as a team.

Highlight of your sports career?
When my team finished 13th place at nationals my senior year by pulling off three upsets and finishing higher than our varsity program had ever finished.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing? 
I've learned how to slow the game down and play with more control, physically and mentally.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My dad. He was the one that taught me all the fundamentals of the game and the importance of a good work ethic, all before I was even in middle school. He has coached me as I've grown up, paid for me to play on organized teams and go to camps, and provided me with countless opportunities to improve and get recruited so that I could play at the next level one day.

Favorite passage of Scripture and why?
My favorite scripture is Genesis 1:26. I like this verse because it explains how God created man in His own image and gave him authority and preference over every other creation because man was created in the closest likeness to God.


Mitchell Patzka
F/ SO/ 6'1"/ Black Earth, WI 

What is your major?
Camp Ministries

When did you start playing basketball?
1st grade

What is your favorite sports team?
Houston Rockets 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
James Harden, Frank "The Tank" Kaminsky 

Highlight of your sports career?
Scoring against Ozark's big man in the MCCC tournament last year.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
From high school to my freshman year of Emmaus, I actually put in work and did the preseason and regular season workouts at 100% and I didn't hold back. I also learned to not be so hard on myself on the court, but to always have a positive attitude because it sets an example for my teammates. It gives our team and school a positive outlook, and it is also how the Lord wants us to act.

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My dad: He taught me how to play basketball from day 1 and never gave up on me and always told me to push through and never give up.
Skyler Sandry: He taught me how to use my weaknesses as a player and turn them intostrengths. He is always there for me and has made me a better performer on court.
Caleb Ruter: He taught me to have confidence when I play and how to use skills in basketball I never thought I had.
Matthew Tomlinson: He always pushes me to go my hardest on and off the court and is always there to talk and comfort me and others on the team if we had a bad day or were struggling.
Coach Wilkerson: He taught me how to be my own man and to stand up for myself on the court against opponents and also in my walk with Christ and interactions with people.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Hebrews 12:1 " Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." This passage of scripture is something I always think of when I'm on the court. It helps me to not care what others think or to be intimidated by any other players, but to play with confidence and play for the Glory of the Lord. In the end, basketball isn't going to be there, but Christ always will.


Cody Nicely
G/ FR/ 5'11"/ Peoria, AZ 

What is your major?
Youth ministry with a minor in Biblical Studies

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball in 5th grade.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Oklahoma City Thunder/Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook.

Highlight of your sports career?
Winning two state championships

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through years of playing?
Being more confident in my game as I get older and more mature.

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My dad-- he's my rock. He is the reason why I play, and he has pushed me hard since I was little. He has shown me how to become a man and how to get through hard times. He makes me strive to get better everyday as a man and as a player.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
My favorite scripture is psalms 73:25-26 ¨Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and heart my fail, but God is my strength of my heart and portion forever.¨
This scripture means a lot to me. One of my best friends died and when she passed, I saw this verse. I really fell in love with it. In life we are not perfect, and we are going to fail as humans. But I believe that no matter what, our love for God should never fail. It's our faith and our hearts that keep us going.


Jared Mast
F/ FR / 6'3"/ Dubuque, IA 

What is your major?
Bible Theology and Business Administration

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball in the 5th grade.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player? 
My favorite sports team is the New York Knicks. My favorite player is Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, because of his Godly testimony and hard work ethic.

Highlight of your sports career?
In my senior year of high school, we were playing one of our school's rivals and they were beating us. My coach called a timeout and one of the players prayed that we would play better as a team. We won by five.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing? 
The biggest growth has been learning to encourage and lead by example. Your teammates will follow your energy both on and off the court. I need to use this to help encourage them to move in the right direction in their personal lives and in theirwalk with God.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
There were two: my best friend Sam Urban and my dad. Sam taught me so much about playing the game and taught me different skills. My Dad always pushed me to be the best that I could possibly be and encouraged me to never quit.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Psalms 62:1-2 "Truly my soul waits upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved." I like this verse because it always reminds me of two great things: God saved me and loves me no matter what I do, and God will protect and help me in all of life's trials and difficulties.


Nathaniel Glidewell
F/ FR/ 6'2"/St. Joseph, MO 

What is your major?
One Year Biblical Studies, then onto Physical Education/Coaching

When did you start playing basketball?
I actually started playing in pre-school for a Y league.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
The Kansas City Royals and Chiefs, along with the San Antonio Spurs. Favorite players, for football: Priest Holmes, Jamaal Charles, and Tony Gonzalez. For basketball: The entire Spurs roster, and Kevin Garnett. I grew up watching KG play for the Timberwolves a lot. For baseball, Lorenzo Cain.

Highlight of your sports career?
I had 3 buzzer beaters in one game in 7th grade (the one in the fourth quarter won the game), traveling with the teams I have been on, and a game winning assist in a high school game are a few highlights. All tournament player back-to-back at our home tournament for the Defenders was pretty cool. Also, all of the times I have gotten my friends together to play night ball at the park will be a great memory for me. Lastly, a game-winning block on the opponents last shot in intramural basketball, and also going undefeated during Kirkwood’s intramural basketball season.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have seen a lot of growth in my game, and also my personal life during my years of playing. I have become a pretty diverse player because growing up, I played point guard until around my freshman or sophomore year when I became more of a wing. When I played for the Defenders, I played a lot of post. I bulked up my Jr. and Sr. years in high school. I have worked a lot on my shot recently; I used to strictly drive and dish. I would say that I have perfected my craft overall. Growth personally, I have seen my faith become my own over the years, and have realized how important my faith is.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
I think it would be silly to not say that my parents and my brother have impacted me the most during my playing career. My parents, because they took all the time and effort to get me to all my practices, games, etc. Also, my brother and his friends and their team really peaked my interest in basketball. They played a lot of games and had a ton of practices, and I would end up having to watch.  My coach for the Defenders helped me grow as a person and also with my post game. My grandma has also influenced and supported me with buying some basketball shoes for me throughout the years. My friend Elijah has taken a lot of his time to practice with me which has helped me become a better player. Lastly, my friend Caleb has impacted me with lifting, and to be a better player.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Ephesians 2:8 ¨For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.¨
This is one of my favorite passages because it’s personal to me, it presents the good news, and it helps you realize that it is by grace and faith alone that we are saved.


Tyler Glenski
G/ FR/ 5'8"/Cedar Rapids, IA 

What is your major?
Business

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Chicago Bulls

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball in 3rd grade.

Highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my career would be the first round of 1A district basketball against Tri-County. I am not a player who wins the game on my own. I play best as an aid to the team and this game was a game I will never forget. We started out the first quarter losing 17-2. After being encouraged by our coach to not let the season end quite yet, we came back and fought three hard quarters and won 60-52. My team is not one to dig ourselves out of a deficit, especially when it's over 15 points. Surprisingly, we won that game and went on to the second round of districts. I contributed 8 points this game and used my speed on the defensive end to slow the opposing teams scoring. We worked as a team and it paid off. This was the highlight and most encouraging game of basketball I have ever played.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have seen growth throughout the years in my defense, specifically. I have become more confident in my speed and my ability to slow down other players.

Name an individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
The individuals who have affected me the most would be the players on my team. They have influenced me by making me more confident in myself and my ability to play the game. They encouraged me to not doubt myself and that I need to believe in myself when I play. They are the reason I decided to pursue basketball in college.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


Nathan Davidson
C/ SO/ 6'5"/ Des Moines, IA

What is your major?
Bible Theology and Computer Information Systems

When did you start playing basketball? 
My first word was ¨ball,¨ so I started playing at quite a young age. 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player? 
Da Bulls 

Highlight of your sports career?
I was on TV for one of my high school touch down receptions. 

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing? 
Through the years of playing, God has been intermingled with my sports which has helped me realize the importance of hard work and giving God the glory He deserves.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
I can't deny the go-to answer here, my Pops. Countless times my dad has inspired and encouraged me, giving me confidence and significance in my sports. 

Favorite passage of Scripture and why?
James 1:5-6 because it reveals that we can receive wisdom just by asking God; it is always wise to ask for wisdom.


Vivienne Yates
S/ SO/ 5'5"/ Glenwood, IA

Major
Business Administration

When did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing around 5th grade, but I took 3 years off in high school.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
I'm not big into professional sports so I don't have a favorite team or player.

Highlight of your sports career?
I loved seeing a group of complete strangers come together last season and become a team.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have not only improved my skills, but I've learned how to play the sport I love for Christ.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Our coach last season, Ben Strautmann, was a great example of how to combine the love of the game with a love for Christ.  Ben was patient with us all season long even during our losing streak and could always make us laugh.  He was always there to give us advice and support on and off the court.  Ben made a huge impact on how I view the game of volleyball.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
I love Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." 

These verses give me peace in trusting God's plan for my life.  


Chelsea Smith
MB/ FR/ 6'0"/ Des Moines, IA

Major
Nursing

When did you start playing volleyball?
I started in 7th grade.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Chelsea Football

Highlight of your sports career?
There was a player on a team we played against who got into a car accident and was in the hospital, so after our game we prayed with the other team for her.  They weren't a Christian school.  So it stood out to the other team that we were still willing to pray for them even though we lost the game.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I've learned to have a lot of patience and also to stay humble.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My high school coach Matthew Overton.  He always stressed who we play for, and pushed us to be strong, confident women in everything we do with our lives. 

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."


Molly Skoglund
L/ SO/ 5'5"/ Dubuque, IA

Major
General Studies

When did you start playing volleyball?
In 7th grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Emmaus Eagles Soccer - Nicholas Skoglund :)

Highlight of your sports career?
It's not a specific in-game experience, but I felt really honored in high school when I was listed in the Quad Cities Times' "players to watch" for my Senior year.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
 I've become more vocal and confident in my abilities and I've come to better understand that the most important thing is that I'm playing for the Lord's glory and not my own.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My parents have both had a huge influence in me in my sports.  They have always been super encouraging and supported me by coming to as many games as they could.  They would practice with me in the backyard for hours, they took me to volleyball camps, and they allowed me to play club volleyball.  I am very thankful for that.  I know I wouldn't have excelled in sports the way I did without their support.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 

The author of Lamentations was going through a tremendous amount of anguish when he said these words.  I have experienced some hard times in my life, but I have also seen and experienced the Lord's faithfulness in amazing ways.  It is such an encouraging passage to me and a great reminder of what an amazing and loving God we serve. He is faithful even when we are faithless.


Savannah Peterson
OH/ FR/ 5'6"/ Urbandale, IA

Major
Elementary Education 

When did you start playing volleyball?
I started in 7th grade. 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Iowa Hawkeyes

Highlight of your sports career?
My highlight is getting 1st Team All-Conference.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
Volleyball has really made me become a leader.  Being put in leadership positions on the court has helped me step up with leadership positions off of the court.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My Jr. High volleyball coaches at Iowa Christian Academy really helped me develop a passion and love for volleyball.  They taught me so many things that I can use not only in volleyball, but also in everyday life. 

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”  2 Timothy 2:22

 This verse is such a great reminder that the worldly things that we think are important, are nothing compared to everlasting things. It has helped set a huge perspective for me in my walk with Christ.


Alli Howard
OH/ FR/ 5'7"/ Ankeny, IA

Major
Secondary Education 

When did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing volleyball in 7th grade.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
One of my favorite players is Steph Curry.

Highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my sports career was receiving first team all-conference (unanimous vote), getting on the all west central district team, receiving honorable mention all-state, and having my team finish 3rd in the conference under two "top 15 ranked" teams in the state.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have grown a lot the past 3 years. I worked really hard to improve my skill and it really paid off.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
The individual who impacted me the most in my playing career was my high school coach, Matthew Overton.  My coach taught me so much about the sport of volleyball, how to be a strong confident woman, and he made me the player I am today.  If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be playing volleyball in college.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

I love how it reminds us how we should always look to the Lord in all situations and that He will be there for us no matter what.


Liz Heathcote
RS/ SO/ 5'6"/ Mazomanie, WI

Major
Secondary Education 

When did you start playing volleyball?
I’ve played volleyball since I was in 5th grade. 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite football team is the Green Bay Packers.  My favorite player is Clay Matthews.

Highlight of your sports career?
I have loved growing together with my team and growing better as a player.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I've gotten better at being able to spike from the front row and getting a higher vertical.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
My grandma was always there for me, cheering me on and pushing me to get better.  She came to almost every home game and was always proud of me no matter how many mistakes I made.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7

I like these verses because once I have received Christ Jesus I can walk with Him and can be built up and have great faith, full of happiness. These verses challenge me to keep in my walk with Christ and be filled with joy because of Him!


Elizabeth Brame
RS/ SO/ 5'5"/ Byron Center, MI

Major
Elementary Education

When did you start playing volleyball?
In 7th grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
I don’t have one.

Highlight of your sports career?
I don’t have a particular highlight, but I feel awesome when I am able to block.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have become more confident in my playing, especially in spiking.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Erin Swinger, my senior year volleyball coach has impacted me the most by believing in me, seeing the potential I had, and encouraging me to reach that potential.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." Philippians 2:14-15

I like it because it is a great, constant reminder and extremely encouraging to me.


Jennifer Benson
MB/ FR/ 5'8/ Omaha, NE

Major
Counseling Psychology

When did you start playing volleyball?
7th grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
San Francisco Giants Baseball.

Highlight of your sports career?
It was when my team made it to the championship match at the Pathway Christian Tournament in Kalona, IA.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
On the court I have seen that I am now able to play multiple positions.  Off of the court I have become a stronger leader.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Pam Christensen, she was my coach for three years. During that time, she has influenced me by showing me how to be a better leader on and off of the court.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:9-12


Hannah Bell
S/ FR/ 5'10"/ Tomball, TX

Major
Elementary Education 

When did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing volleyball in 5th grade

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite sports player is Novak Djokovic (tennis)

Highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my sports career so far was winning Homeschool nationals my senior year. 

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
Volleyball has taught me about working with others as a team. I have learned how to lead and how to follow. 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Veronica Warner (high school coach) has influenced me the most. She was one of the few Christian coaches I had and she taught me how to use volleyball to honor God. 

Favorite passage of scripture and why?
My favorite passage of the Bible is James 1, especially verse 3 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds." 

I love this passage because it reminds me that IN trials we receive joy.


Anthony Flores
MF/ FR/ 5'7/ Muscatine, IA

What is your major?
Bible Exposition

When did you start playing soccer?
When I was 6 years old.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite sports team is Manchester United and my favorite player is Wayne Rooney.

What was the highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my career is winning championships with my club soccer team in high school.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have mostly developed in my ability to read the game. 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
Myself

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
Proverbs 3:6, "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." 

The fact that Christ will direct my path is such an amazing thing to know. I have to acknowledge him in everything I do and all of the time. 


Tyler Tucker
DF/ SO/ 6'0"/ Newton, KS

What is your major?
Bible Theology and Intercultural Studies

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing organized soccer in the first grade.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite sports team is the Kansas City Chiefs.

What is the highlight of your sports career?
A recent one would be winning soccer intermurals last year.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have a better appreciation for seeking to encourage fellow teammates then I did a couple of years ago.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
Ethan Penner and Luke Friesen are two individuals from High School who stick out to me, since they both always gave their absolute best and were willing to take the time to interact with me on a personal and spiritual level.

What is your favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
One of my favorite Scripture passages is Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5-7) as it reflects how Jesus is interested in a change of heart rather than requiring us to follow a list of rules like many religions in the world demand.


Nicholas Skoglund
MF/ SR/ 5'11/ Dubuque, IA

What is your major?
Business Administration and Biblical Studies

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing soccer my freshman year at Emmaus in 2010

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite soccer team is Bayern Munich and my favorite soccer player is Thomas Müeller, an outside midfielder for Munich. My other favorite player is my wife, Molly, who plays volleyball at Emmaus :).

What is the highlight of your sports career?
When I scored a rebound goal to tie a game my freshman year.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
In the past few years, I have seen myself grow spiritually through soccer. The coaches really stress spiritual and personal discipline, which has helped me become more mature personally and spiritually.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
The person who has impacted me the most in my career is Coach Brown. He really stresses spiritual growth and really cares about his players. He pushes you harder than you think you can go and pushes you to do your very best on the field, in your walk with Christ, and in your personal life. It is nice to have a coach who really cares about you as a person and a brother in Christ, as well as a soccer player.

What is your favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
My favorite passage at this point in my life is Psalm 103:1-5,

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

This passage reminds me that God is good no matter our circumstances. He has cleansed us from sin and showers us with love and mercy, helping us through life.


Gabriel Salinas
MF/ FR/ 6'4"/Torreon, Mexico

What is your major?
Bible Theology and Business Administration

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing when I was 4 years old. 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Santos Laguna (hometown team) / Messi

Highlight of your sports career.
I've played soccer all my life, and I trained volleyball in highschool.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
To have more creativity and patience in the games, self-discipline.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
My brother mainly, and some other good friends. They have taught me how to play, do some tricks, and other fun stuff.

What is your favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
Psalms 4:8, because when I was little I had a lot of nightmares and this passage helped get rid of those nightmares, I saw God's hand working in my life.


Eric Rasmussen 
GK/ JR/ 6'2"/ Dubuque, IA

What is your major?
Secondary education- endorsements in history and English 

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing competitive soccer my freshman year at Emmaus

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite soccer team is the Seattle Sounders and favorite player was Kasey Keller before he retired.

Highlight of your sports career.
My diving backwards save my freshman year at nationals

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have become a better keeper as well as a better leader.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Coach Brown (I swear I'm not trying to suck up). He taught me everything I know about soccer, constantly challenged me, and taught me how to play sports competitive, while keeping a positive testimony.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why. 
Romans 8- one of the most comforting passages reminding me of God's love 


Kyle Pikaart
MF/ SO/ 6'2"/ Byron Center, MI

Major
N/A

When did you start playing soccer?
I started soccer my junior year of high school. 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Kevin Durant

Highlight of your sports career?
I stopped the last shot in a shut out to win the state championship.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have seen growth most in my character.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Tim Command, my coach was always encouraging, but was willing to be critical in a helpful way.

Favorite passage of scripture and why? 
Galatians 2:20, because it reminds me of the christian life and the hope we have to live in accordance to God's glory through Christ.


Joe Olson
F/ JR/ 5'8"/ Dubuque, IA

Major
I am majoring in Counseling Psychology.

When did you start playing soccer?
I have been playing organized soccer since I was around 5 years old.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
I do not really keep up with professional soccer, but I've always enjoyed good old Ronaldinho. 

Highlight of your sports career?
I have many highlights of my soccer career, but only three stand out. 1. My junior year when I knuckle balled a goal from a corner kick 2. Being one of the few players all season to score a goal against Barclay last year  3. Learning how to be a better team player during my freshmen year and applying it in my Sophomore year.  

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
The Lord has definitely used soccer to teach me many lessons.  Most notably, humility.  Despite my talents and abilities, the Lord has brought me to more lows than highs in my career that have, in turn, brought me to a better understanding of myself and the Love of God. 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
I would say that the most influential person in my playing career would be my Junior High coach, Mr. Fogle.  He was only my coach for a short time, but he both exemplified a star athlete (overall beast) and Christ in the way he played, coached, and even in his private life.  His example impacted me to be the best player I can be, but also to strive to glorify the Lord through my playing.

Favorite passage of scripture and why?  Going along with my journey to humility my favorite scripture is John 3:30,  "He must increase, but I must decrease."  

Through our play and conduct, may we bring more attention to the Lord than ourselves this season. 


Elijah Barsness
DF/ SO/ 5'10"/ Mazomanie, WI 

What is your major?
Bible and Theology and Business Administration

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing when I was 5. 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Green Bay Packers

What is the highlight of your sports career?
first game of my senior year of high school. 

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I feel like I've improved in every way a soccer player can improve, to a certain extent, since I've played since I was 5, but most recently I've realized how much I have grown in thinking strategically about the game. 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
Bartlett Holmes (coached my junior and senior year of high school) most impacted me by the way that he taught the game. I learned much more about the mental game of soccer those two years than any other time, which is a critical part to any soccer player. 

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why? 
I have two verses. The first is 1 Corinthians 10:31. This verse is a great reminder because it helps me realize that I don't have to do "big" things or "better" things for God. The small things count just as much.

The second verse is Galatians 1:10. This verse goes along with the first one because it reminds me that I need to be doing every little thing for God's glory. Not just what I want to do for Him when I want and how I want. If I have the wrong motives to do something, such as looking for recognition, then what I have done is for my own glory and not for the One who deserves it.


Eli Gioja
MF/ SO/ 5'10"/ Champaign, IL

What is your major?
Bible Theology and Business Administration

When did you start playing soccer?
5 1/2 hours ago (or this season).  

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite sports team Germany. Messi is favorite player to watch.

What was the highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my career is winning championships with my club soccer team in high school.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
Phenomenal bonding with the other players. I am now comfortable with putting myself out there. My skill with the game has become relatively existent.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
Coach Brown. ;) Seriously, though, your attitude is exactly what I've needed. You are gracious, patient, and encouraging, but you are not satisfied with mediocrity.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
Matthew 10:32-33, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven."

This passage has been an immense challenge for me. In this world it is easy to just put my spiritual life under wraps whenever I'm hanging out with people that may judge me for my beliefs. This passage reminds me how important it is to prioritize my testimony over how comfortable I feel around others.


Logan Matenaer
MF/ JR/ 5'6"/ Helenville, WI

What is your major?
Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies with a Minor in Christian Ministry

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing in 2014, my freshman year at Emmaus.  

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Sebastian Giovinco / Seattle Sounderso

What is the highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my sports career was taking a 4-0 lead over CCCB after losing to them in our first match.  It was quite thrilling how the team came together as one unit to put points on the board in our favor.  

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
Playing soccer at Emmaus has definitely been beneficial in my walk with Christ.  I remember multiple times last year where as a soccer team we would pray, worship, and fellowship with other teams and with each other.  Being around the soccer guys and coaches really challenged me on the field, in class, and in the day to day grind.  As far as growing athletically, I came into Emmaus having never played soccer before and barely knowing how to kick a soccer ball.  Now in my second year, I can dribble, shoot, and score with the best of them.  

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you: The person who most impacted my soccer career was and is a good friend of mine, Justin Humphrey.  He encouraged me on the field by putting in the work day in and day out and by always having a positive attitude no matter what position he played.  Off the field, he made sure I was getting in the Word and maintaining my walk with Jesus.  I am very thankful for the impact he has made on my life.

What is your favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This verse is a daily reminder for me to think more highly of God instead of myself.  Decreasing self means putting aside my ways, my sin, and my selfishness all for the cause of putting God first in my life. 


Samuel Gitonga
F/ FR/ 6'1"/ Nairobi, Kenya

What is you major
During my years in Emmaus I will be majoring in computer information system.

When did you start playing soccer?
As far as I can remember I started playing soccer (known as football) since around 5th grade.  But it was just for fun.  I started playing as a team member in 7th grade up through my senior year of high school.  

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
I don't follow soccer that much, but from what I have watched, I support real madrid and also barcelona. My favorite players are Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and the retired Rolandino.

What is the highlight of your sports career?
My highlight of my soccer career would be playing as a team and having fun while doing it, also a couple of unforgetable goals.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
Through the years I have seen a growth in confidence as a player. 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
A former teammate, Andy, and my former coaches Mr. Schwant and Mr. Leeman have been great influences.  Their dedication and love for the sport have influenced me to enjoy and work hard in soccer.

What is you favorite passage of Scripture and why?
I do not have a favorite scripture verse, I basically just listen/read, apply, and usually never memorize the scriptures, because my memory is bad.  However, I am thankful to be in a good environment where that will change.  While I don't have a favorite, I do enjoy the stories of Jesus performing miracles, as well as the parables.  


Ryan Bell
MF/ SR/ 5'8"/ Dodgeville, WI

What is your major?
Business Administration / Bible Theology 

When did you start playing soccer?
When I was 5 years old. 

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
The Green Bay Packers 

What was the highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my sports career would probably be winning a high school playoff game in a penalty shoot out my senior year. 

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
Soccer has taught me a ton about responsibility and giving 110% effort all the time. 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
My dad, he always pushed me harder than the other kids when he coached me throughout grade school. I didn't like it at the time, but now I am super grateful for it. I wouldn't be the player I am today without his influence. 

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
1 Peter 4:12-19, because it teaches about how we can suffer for Christ and rejoice in that, which can be some of the toughest times for Christians (standing up for Christ).


Timothy Barton
MF/ FR/ 5'7"/ Fort Dodge, IA

What is your major?
Youth Ministries 

When did you start playing soccer?
In 2nd grade possibly

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
New England Patriots

What was the highlight of your sports career?
Scoring 2 goals in my first high school game

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I have gotten alot better and dribbling and shooting over the years.
 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
My dad, beacause he has always pushed me to do my best and to have fun. He has also always been there to help me along the way.

What is your favorite passage of Scripture and why?
Philippians 1:20, Because I dont want to be ashamed of anything from my past, because I know God has forgiven me of all my sins and I wish to bring God glory in everything that I do.


Ben Backes
DF/ SO/ 5'11"/ Dubuque, IA

What is your major?
Counseling psychology

When did you start playing soccer?
4 years

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
Real Madrid, Ronaldo

What is the highlight of your sports career?
When I cleared the ball 3 quarters up the field  

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
I used to just get ball up the field, now I'm more involved in spreading the field and building up the play 

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you.
Coach Brown, because he has helped me develop my game as a defender. Even more importantly, he has shown to me how you can deal with all business in life and still keep Christ first in the midst of it all.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
Phil. 4:6-7 because I can rest in the fact that God is in control of everything. 


Braden Crim
MF/ FR/ 5'8"/ Ames, IA

What is your major?
Certificate in Biblical Studies 

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing in a city league when I was 17, but I have been playing pickup soccer for as long as I can remember.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite sports team is the Iowa State Cyclones.

What was the highlight of your sports career?
The highlight of my career would have to be winning the bronze medal three years in a row at the Iowa Games. Next year that streak will hopefully be broken and we will finally win gold.

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
The biggest growth I have seen from playing soccer has been my attitude. It is easy to get upset at the refs or your opponents, but through soccer I have learned to hold my tongue and be gracious in winning and losing.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
The individual that has influenced me the most is my Dad. He has instructed, encouraged, and challenged me in whatever I do, whether it is soccer, basketball, or academics.

Favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Romans 5:6-8, "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."


Jonathan Lahoud
DF/ Jr/ 5'7"/ Houston, TX

What is your major?
My major is Bible Theology and Counseling Psychology.

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing sports when I was about five years old.

What is your favorite sports team and/or player?
My favorite player for soccer is Christian Renaldo. 

What is the highlight of your sports career?
I don’t have one presently. 

What type of growth have you seen in yourself through your years of playing?
The growth that I have seen in myself this year is being less angry and becoming more positive in games or on the side lines, cheering on my teammates to succeed.

Name the individual who has impacted you the most in your playing career, and how they have influenced you:
Coach Brown, He has influenced me by taking the time to talk to me, but mostly listening to me and understanding the pain or problem I am going through. He also encourages me with Scriptures and the right words, but also corrects me when I am in the wrong.

What is your favorite Passage of Scripture and why?
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 

The reason this passage of Scripture is my favorite is because God has given me the talent to play sports so that I may glorify His name and His name only.