He is a retired American soccer player. He last played for Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer. Although he spent eleven years as a defender for the United States national team, he spent most of his career playing for D.C. United. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. In 1998, he helped United win both the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Champions Cup and the InterAmerican Cup. In 1997, he was named the MLS Defender of the Year.
He said of his faith, “I grew up going to church every Sunday with my family. Although church was meaningful to me, it soon became more of a routine than a heartfelt faith. That began to change during my freshman year at the University of North Carolina. I was playing both soccer and football. It was a grueling time because I had two practices a day for each sport I was playing. It wasn’t long before I was exhausted. Then a teammate gave me a card that contained some Psalms from the Bible. They made a lot of sense to me. They also provided me with the peace and strength I needed to get through each day.”
He went on to say, “I came to realize that God is a ‘personal’ God. His Word can be applied in every situation. I also realized it was time to quit going through the motions, to stop treating my relationship with God as a routine and to start making it the foundation of my life. So, in a strange way, soccer has forced me to develop a relationship with God. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. With all the traveling and being away from family, having God as part of my daily routine is essential—even though He is anything but routine. Life is too short to live without God. He is a necessity.”
He plays the position of offensive lineman for the St. Louis Rams of the NFL. After high school, he played college football at the University of Alabama, started three BCS National Championship Games at three different positions in 2010, 2012, and 2013. After his 2011 season, he was recognized as a consensus All-American and won the Outland Trophy for being the best lineman in college football. After the 2012 season, he won the Rimington Trophy for being the best center in college football. He was chosen by the Rams during the 2013 NFL draft. In 2014, he was named one of the recipients of the Today’s Top 10 Award, given annually by the NCAA to 10 outstanding student-athletes.
He said of his faith in Jesus Christ, “I was saved at a young age. I had really good parents who took me to church, and I started asking them why they went to church all the time and called themselves Christians. Once they explained it to me, I wanted to be a Christian too. Football has played a big part in my life and at times, it has been a big stumbling block. What I’ve learned is to make Jesus the Lord of your life. When I was growing up, sports were really everything. I focused on sports, and all I wanted to do was get a college scholarship. I really focused only on playing, practicing and working out in the off-seasons in sports. Pretty much everything I did was geared toward how I could be a better athlete. I spent the majority of my time on that.”
“As I got into college, it was the same thing but even more so because we practiced so much more and worked out so much more. I really defined myself as an athlete more so than a Christian who happened to be an athlete. I got hurt one year, and God really started showing me that if this is the most important thing in your life, if this is what you’re putting all your emphasis on, you’re going to be empty. That’s something God has continued to teach me, especially when we won the national championship. I remember holding the crystal football and thinking to myself, ‘This is great, but it’s not going to fulfill me in life.’ It was such a short-lived feeling and that led me to realize that nothing was going to fulfill me but a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
He went on to say, “As I read through the Bible, that’s evident throughout the whole Bible. John 6:35 says, ‘I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.’ I think that verse describes what I’m talking about. Nothing can fill that void in your heart except a relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though I’m saved, I have to teach myself that daily, because I sometimes try to fill that void with other things like sports, school work, girls or whatever. Nothing is ever going to fulfill that but Christ; that’s just how we were designed.”
He is recognized as a hero for his actions aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on that fateful day of September 11, 2001. After United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked, he and other passengers communicated with people on the ground via in-plane and cell phones, and learned that the World Trade Center had been attacked using hijacked airplanes. Trying to place a credit card call through a phone located on the back of a plane seat, he was routed to GTE supervisor Lisa Jefferson. He reported that one passenger was killed and, later, that a flight attendant had told him the pilot and co-pilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded. He was also on the phone when the plane made its turn in a southeasterly direction. He later informed Lisa Jefferson that some of the plane’s passengers were planning to “jump on” the hijackers and fly the plane into the ground before the hijackers’ plan could be followed through. Before ending the phone call, he recited The Lord’s Prayer with Jefferson, and his reported last audible words were, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” He and his wife taught Sunday School at their church for six years, and he is known today as a man of faith, selflessness, and courage. He was posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2002. His name is Todd Beamer.
She is a singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. She has sold more than 50 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide. She has received nine Grammy Awards as well as thirty Grammy nominations, and she is the only artist to have won Grammys in the R&B, Rap, Pop, and Gospel fields. Eight of her albums have reached multi-platinum status in the United States. According to Rolling Stone, Time, and Vibe Magazines, her album “My Life” is considered among the greatest albums ever recorded. In 2007, she was named to TIME Magazine’s 100 list of influential individuals around the world. Alongside her success in music, she has earned high remarks for her work in film. In 2007, she starred in “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” and “Rock of Ages.” She received two Golden Globe Awards for her musical contributions to the films “Bobby” and “The Help.”
Although she grew up in Pentecostal churches and got her singing start there, she says, “I wasn’t a Christian when I was a child, I just went to church. I understood from childhood that there was something really big watching over me and it was God. And I was afraid to steal and lie. I was afraid to do anything that was wrong. I always got this feeling like, ‘Uh oh.’ But I understand better now who God is now that I’ve become a woman and a Christian.”
She went on to say, “It was later [in life], when I gave my life to Jesus Christ, that I found out who I am. I’m a child of God. God is my mommy, my daddy. That’s the only thing that’ll keep my head up. If I don’t remember who I am in him, I’m done….When I became a Christian, it was something I had to do because my whole life as a young adult was so bad. Things were just so bad that when I decided to make a change in my life, I went to God about my life. And he led me to other Christians, like my husband, like my pastor. And I started studying the Word. Now I get it. I understand it more, through the Word. That’s why I know God is love.”
Brady Ellison shoots during a practice session during the U.S. Olympic Archery team trials. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)
He is an athlete from the United States who competes in team and individual archery. In 2007 and 2011, he won gold in the Pan American Games. In 2010, he won gold in the Archery World Cup. And in 2009 and 2011, he won gold in the World Indoor Archery Championships. He led the United States archery team in the London 2012 Olympics to a silver medal in the team archery competition.
He accepted Jesus Christ into his heart when he was a child, but at the time, he said, “I never knew what that meant. I believe that God saved me from dying in a horrible car accident in Vermont, and from there I started to take my faith a little more seriously. I met a man named Jansen Asbill and he really opened my eyes to the Lord. And then my wonderful girlfriend and family helped change me for the better.”
Regarding how his faith impacts his sport, he says, “Once I put winning in God’s hands, I stopped worrying about that. I just went to tournaments and shot with no fear, doing only the best I can do and leaving the rest up to God.” His name is Brady Ellison.