There is a reason that FCA has continued to grow so significantly since it was started in 1954. FCA takes the athletic aspect of the program as serious as every other club, and conducts the sports component with a high level of excellence, yet what makes FCA different – and clearly desirable — is the integration of faith and sport.
“FCA provides a unique atmosphere that allows coaches and players to explore their faith for the first time, if they desire to, or deepen their existing faith. Although we view the faith aspect of the program as being more important than the athletics, the real power of FCA’s program is where coaches and athletes learn to integrate their faith into the athletics, while continuing to excel in the sport that they are passionate about,” said Sean McNamara, FCA’s VP of Field Ministries in the Northeast and Canada.
While FCA’s program remains focused on its mission, it also continues to challenge its coaches and athletes to live out and demonstrate the FCA four core values of Integrity, Serving, Teamwork and Excellence. These topics are often discussed during FCA huddle time – something that parents, players and coaches alike seem to find refreshing and desirable in a sports program.
Regional Camp and Community Coordinator Sol Bliss believes that the relationship-building that occurs among and between coaches and players is one things that makes FCA’s program standout. “Because we are in contact with our program 33 weeks of the year, our coaches and players are able to maintain on-going relationships where they can really develop depth with each other. This quantitative time allows for both character-building and skill-building on a deeper level than you find in most programs.”
Leanne Rorick, whose son Chase plays defense for the Northeast 2020 team, believes the huddle time is something that sets FCA apart from other teams her son plays with. “During the huddles the coaches and players inspire the best performance and leadership from one another, and it is a place where they can safely and excitedly share their common love for Christ and his teachings. My son’s FCA coaches are mentors and stewards of faith, and he can count on them, on and off the field.
Chase Rorick recounted a 2015 Stowe tournament where the common bond that the players have through Christ helped them gel when they got together to play — regardless of the lack of field time they had together prior to the event.
“At Stowe, a 2020 team was formed by coaches with FCA kids from multiple teams in the Syracuse and Rochester regions. We hadn’t practiced together at all before the tournament, yet we bonded immediately and played like we had played together all season — or even longer! The ties we share because of our faith really just pulls us together naturally. We ended up coming in second place overall in the tournament, and a bond of brotherhood was instantly formed,” Rorick said.
For Scott Barnard who has been involved with FCA as both a player and a coach, that common bond of Christ speaks to how the coaches react to the players and how the kids respond: “A lot of life is who you surrender yourself to – so having the opportunity to be around other spiritual coaches that motivate and encourage one another and pick each other up, and having a focus that is more concentrated on how you play the game — and not just results — is very different today. Mistakes are made on the field and in the game, but we have that common bond of Christ and we know we are doing our best, and there’s a certain way people move forward and interact with each other because of that,” Barnard said.
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Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.