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Ana Newsum

Position: Staff Training Coordinator

About Me

I was born in NYC as a military brat and moved around for the majority of my life as a result! I got my first opportunity to put some roots down when I moved to Charlotte, NC & would call this home in a heart beat! I graduated in 2014 from the University of Mary Washington where I met the Lord as a sophomore. The depth of Christ I’ve experienced has largely been as a result of giving my life away in the ministry of Young Life as a volunteer leader & it is one of the greatest gifts of my life! 

I am passionate about the gospel being shared, leadership development, the enneagram, and creating/investing into a culture that is joyful and purposeful!

How & Why I became a MAI Missionary?

I got connected by a long-time friend of mine (our Executive Director, Cliff) & felt the Lord tugging my heart to enter into a season of surrender and joy! I always knew the Lord was going to have to call me into something specific for me to leave my previous job and it happened! I am beyond excited to be able to help equip, develop, and multiply leaders for the organization in order to increase & deepen our impact!

Ana Newsum

Staff Training Coordinator

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Blair Anderes

Position: Athletic Trainer & Intern Coordinator

About me:

I grew up in Charlotte, NC basically obsessed with the game of soccer. My childhood was full of tournaments, practices, and just kicking the ball around in my backyard. I couldn’t get enough and eventually I made the decision to play collegiately. I began my freshman year at Ole Miss but soon transferred back to my home state to play at Appalachian State University. The Lord used both the joys and challenges of college athletics to open my eyes to His love, strengthen my faith, and set a fire in my soul to share His Gospel. After undergrad I chose to stay in the beautiful Appalachian mountains for another couple years to complete my Master’s in Athletic Training. I am so honored to be a part of such an amazing organization and serve as the Head Athletic Trainer here at the Charlotte Eagles!

 

How and why I became a MAI missionary:

I had the opportunity to play for the Lady Eagles WPSL team during my time as a college athlete. I was taught how to use the game of soccer as a platform to further the name of Christ. Years later, in 2021, while pursing my Master’s in Athletic Training I was invited back as a summer intern and taught how to use my career as a platform to share the Gospel. After that internship I was offered the position as the Charlotte Eagles’ Head Athletic Trainer. Looking back God has been training me for something so unique and specific to the gifts and passions he has given me. I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to glorify my King! God is so good!

Blair Anderes

Athletic Trainer & Intern Coordinator

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Caleb Loew

Position: Resident

About me
I am originally from the Allentown area in Pennsylvania and grew up with 3 brothers who all loved playing soccer. This love of soccer led me to Houghton College where I played four years of soccer as a goalkeeper as well as double majoring in Theology and Mathematics with a minor in Sports Ministry. This education has well-prepared me for working with the Eagles and I am excited to be a part of a great ministry.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
I have joined with the Eagles because of my call and passion for sports ministry. This originated from working with Torch Sports Ministry in the Bux-Mont area in PA and playing with their team where my call became apparent. The Lord then sent me to the Eagles so I can pursue this call and passion and continue to serve others through the sport that I love and to continue to develop my passion for people and for soccer.

Caleb Loew

Resident

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Cliff & Laura Wright

Position: Charlotte Executive Director

About me

I was adopted as an infant and grew up in Greensboro, NC graduating from Grimsley High School in 2002. I went to Centre College were I played four years for the Colonels and majored in Religious Studies while volunteering with and then joining part-time staff with Young Life. Following college I went on full time Young Life staff serving in Roanoke, VA, Fredericksburg, VA, and finally in the Greater Charlotte area. I married Laura (also on YL staff) in 2008 and we have worked side-by-side in ministry ever since. We have four amazing children (Keller, Asher, Pryor, and Ryder) and one poorly behaved dog (Levi). We live in the University City area of Charlotte and are members at Stonebridge Church Community.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary

I am inspired by the idea of seeing people meet Jesus and grow up in Him. The possibilities of one life, fully devoted to the Lord, are astronomical. The platform of sports, especially soccer, to reach people with the Gospel, build into them, and launch them into a life of service and impact is like a hand in a glove. MAI and the Charlotte Eagles are uniquely positioned to use the platform of soccer across racial, economic, georgraphic, and cultural lines to accomplish these goals like nothing else I have seen.

Cliff & Laura Wright

Charlotte Executive Director

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Collin Smith

Position: North Charlotte Ministry Staff

About me
Born in Houston but I call Charlotte home! I drink coffee like it’s water. I love Isaiah 25. I would rather be outside than inside. I could watch Sahara over and over again.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
I had the opportunity to be involved in few different branches of the Eagles during my time as a college student. God used the time spent with the PDL/USL2 teams as well as my time spent in neighborhood ministry to really shape me in meaningful ways. I love the game of soccer and have seen God use it to build relationships and form young people into disciples of Christ. I really believe Charlotte is better off with the work MAI does and I am excited I get to be a part of it. I also really love Eagles apparel and saw this as an opportunity to cash in.

Collin Smith

North Charlotte Ministry Staff

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Dave & Carolyn Urban

Position: CEO | HR Dir. (Interim)

About me

We are originally from the Philadelphia area and moved to Charlotte in 2013. I spent over 20 years in the field of higher education overseeing enrollment and building strategic partnerships with various different organizations. I also co-founded and am partner in Charter Oak Research, which has provided marketing, research, executive search, strategic planning, and consulting services to over 50 clients, including Christian and private schools, colleges, and seminaries in addition to several other business organizations. I hold both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business Administration from Eastern University. My wife Carolyn graduated from Eastern University and spent 11 years coaching the women’s lacrosse team there, prior to stepping away to raise our three children.

How and why we became MAI missionaries

Dave started playing soccer at the age of 5 and had the privilege of being coached by his dad until going off to college. The foundation of teaching he received had a significant impact on his life. During his college years he came to know Christ as my Savior through the environment of his college soccer team. He went on to coach at both the HS and Collegiate level which further prepared him for a role that we did not know would be in his future. When the opportunity came up to be a part of the ministry of MAI, who’s mission is to glorify God and see lives transformed by sharing the message of Jesus Christ through the global environment of soccer, it was a natural fit.  The mission of MAI is what drew Carolyn in too, because she saw first hand through her lacrosse coaching years, the impact that sports can have on the lives of players through the environment of a team.

Dave & Carolyn Urban

CEO | HR Dir. (Interim)

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David Herrera

Position: S. Blvd. Ministry Staff

About me: 

I was born and raised in Cali, Colombia where my passion for futbol was I everything I knew. As my mom would put it, “David would get home after school, drop his school bag, and run outside to kick the ball until late in the evening on a daily basis.” That passion still runs in me. Since immigrating to the US at an early age, God has worked in me, and I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior in middle school. I lived in rebellious state most of my HS years where I would only pray to God or go to church when I needed something from Him. I knew that God was bigger than that and that He wanted me to surrender to Him, but I did not want to. I got tired of running away from Him, and I decided to recommit my life to Him right out of HS. That’s when I started to see purpose, identity, and love in Christ. During that time of surrender, God changed me into the man that I am today. It was the best decision I have ever made. He equipped and blessed me in playing college soccer where I didn’t only get to share God’s love with my teammates, but was blessed to appeared in 3 national championship tournaments and 1 national championship. I met Noelle through that time, and we now have our 3yr old daughter Briana and 6 month baby boy Samuel! God is good.

 

How & why I became a MAI Missionary? 

Raised a Catholic at an early age, my parents started attending an evangelical church just before we immigrated to the US. It was at this new church that I started learning God’s purpose in our lives, which is to have an intimate relationship with Him.

Soccer and God have always been around my life, and when I discovered sports ministry in HS, I was shocked that those two passions could work together! I was a leader at a church retreat in Charlotte where Cody Snouffer shared the Urban Eagles’ ministry through Charlotte Eagles, and I was moved by the work they do and thrilled at how soccer is key to their ministry. I got connected with him, and I volunteered for 1.5 yrs. Since then, I have been involved with different sports ministries such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Uncharted Waters. Through my friend and mentor Paul Shedd, I was blessed to go on a soccer missionary trip to Cuba with MAI. It was an experience that greatly impacted my life. Now God has called me to work full-time as missionary, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store in this new journey.

David Herrera

S. Blvd. Ministry Staff

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Drew & Maria Yates

Drew & Maria Yates

Position: Academy Director

About me

I played four years of collegiate soccer at University of Maryland. I then was drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2010 but ended up signing in the second division to play with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. I played six seasons professionally in various cities. After retiring in 2015, I started coaching for various clubs, spanning from Missouri to central Virginia. I am a husband to Maria and a father to Evelyn (19 months) and Eden (almost two months). And a faithful follow of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

How and why I became a MAI Missionary

I was offered a contract with the Charlotte Eagles professional soccer team in 2013. I was a little hesitant to play for a “Christian” organization at the time, but the Lord used injuries and shortcomings in my career to bring me to Charlotte. During a discipleship conference the Gospel was presented to me and I chose to follow Jesus. Later that season, through the Lord’s leading, my future wife chose to follow Jesus as well! Since we left Charlotte, we have been longing to be apart of a community like the Eagles and believed that the Lord was calling us back to Charlotte.

Drew & Maria Yates

Academy Director

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Felipe Firmino

Position: Asst Boys Dir of Coaching | USL2 Asst Coach

About me:

Hey! I’m Felipe Firmino. I’m from Brazil, Sao Paulo. I’ve been living in the United States since 2016. My first two years I spent in a junior college in Utah called Snow College and then I transferred in to Union University in Jackson, Tennessee where I finished my undergrad degree in Christian Ministry & Missions with a minor in business in the Spring of 2021. This past year I did a pastoral apprenticeship at Cornerstone Community Church in Jackson, TN and I loved it. In the fall of 2022 I will be starting seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary (Mdiv) while working with the Eagles 🙂

How and why I became a MAI missionary:

I’m passionate about soccer. I’ve been playing soccer since I was little but I’m more passionate about Christ. And I knew the Lord was leading me to Ministry but I wasn’t sure where until my coach in TN told me about the Eagles and I was so excited about it. Sports in general is an amazing way to build relationships, to show Christ’s love to others and by the Grace of God I want to be able to use the gifts that the Lord gave me through soccer to further His Kingdom. 

I’m so excited to live in a new place and to participate in what the Lord has been doing  here in NC. 

Felipe Firmino

Asst Boys Dir of Coaching | USL2 Asst Coach

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Isabella & Alex Miller

Position: East Charlotte Ministry Staff

About me

I grew up in a small town called Mentor, just outside Cleveland, Ohio, where my parents and four siblings still live. I came to Charlotte in 2014 to attend UNC-Charlotte and to play for the women’s soccer team. During my sophomore year, an injury and a broken identity led me to the cross where I gave my life to Christ. Since then, I have learned what it means to be a daughter of the Highest King, what a relationship with the Lord looks like and how to glorify Him above all things. After graduation from UNC-Charlotte in May 2019, I married my husband, Alex, who has been the greatest blessing of my life. We cannot wait to see what the Lord is going to do through MAI and the Charlotte Eagles!

How & why I became a MAI Missionary

During my time as a student-athlete at UNC-Charlotte I was involved in FCA where many friends from the women’s soccer had played for the WPSL Charlotte Lady Eagles’. Their constant pursuance after me led me to be a practice player for the Lady Eagles for two summers. I also interned in 2018 with a similar ministry in East Charlotte who serves the neighborhood youths. Through my short experiences in the Eagles’ ministry, neighborhood outreach, and through the sports ministry of FCA, the Lord brought to light my desire to use soccer as a platform to speak the Gospel to youth.

Isabella & Alex Miller

East Charlotte Ministry Staff

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James and Hope Miler

James & Hope Miller

Position: East Charlotte Ministry Staff, CESC Coach

About me

My name is James Max Miller, I am from Harrisburg, NC. My wife, of almost a year, is Hope Miller. Together we have a passion for missions and desire to see people come to know Jesus Christ. I graduated from North Greenville University in 2018 with a B.S. in Sport Management with an emphasis in coaching and Hope is a nurse.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary

I was first connected with the Charlotte Eagles when I interned with them as a part of my undergraduate degree in the spring of 2018. I saw the work that was done with the youth club and how the Eagles evangelized and discipled players. Through seeing the work that was done I gained a great respect for the organization, which created a desire to serve alongside its workers. At the beginning of 2019, God put a calling on my heart to join the Eagles full time.

James & Hope Miller

East Charlotte Ministry Staff, CESC Coach

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Jayce Shirley

Position: Resident

About me:

Hey! My name is Jayce Shirley and I am from Charlotte, NC. I attended high school at Carmel Christian and graduated in the class of 2021. After high school, God had placed a calling on my heart to spend a semester in the Dominican Republic as a Teacher at Freedom Christian School. Now, I am a Resident with the Charlotte Eagles! Also, I am an online student with Liberty Online. Pursuing a BS in Biblical and Educational Studies.

I love to hang out with my friends and family. In my free time, you’ll probably catch me hanging out with my friends talking around a bonfire, or playing with my dogs at home.

 

How and why I became a MAI missionary:

My relationship with the Charlotte Eagles started in 2018 as a part of the youth academy. During this time, I was being discipled and was shown what it was to be a Leader. Jake Berry wasn’t just my coach, but he was a disciple of Jesus Christ to me. Through summer camps, rec league, and block parties, I fell in love with what the Eagles are about, and I wanted to be a part of it. After some facetime interviews while in the DR and prayer, I was offered and accepted as a Resident for the Eagles. Being on staff with the Eagles has allowed me to point others to who God is and what he does. I am so excited to be on staff with the Eagles.

Jayce Shirley

Resident

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Jonathan Ramos

Position: Club Director

About me
HOLA! My name is Jonathan Ramos, I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and moved to the United States at the age of five. I grew up in Charlotte, NC and attended Garinger High School.
I was blessed to graduate from a private christian college in Dallas, Texas called Southwestern Assemblies of God University.

I moved to Missouri and began missionary work with Ambassadors Football. After serving the Lord and people of St. Louis for four years, I moved back home. I am currently a soccer coach for Charlotte Eagles and joined their full time staff as Director of Coaching.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
My calling to serve God and His people has transformed my life. My time and experience with Ambassadors Football and Impact City FC in St. Louis have been pivotal on my decision to continue doing missionary work. I have the opportunity to bring the best of both worlds to life through MAI. I will use the sport of soccer as a tool to bring people closer to God because it is more likely for a person to step foot on a soccer pitch than an actual church.

Jonathan Ramos

Club Director

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Jordan Clelan

Position: DIrector of Operations

About me:
I grew up in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania and graduated from Red Land High School where I played soccer and golf. I went on to the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia where I graduated in 2014. It was during my time at UMW, that I got involved with an outreach ministry called Young Life and volunteered my 4 years of college. After graduating, I moved to Charlotte and went on full time Young Life staff serving North and South Carolina. I have been coaching girl’s golf and soccer at Charlotte Country Day School the past 6 years and have loved every minute of it!
In my free time, you might find me walking my pup, Georgia, hitting balls at the driving range, or exploring the food scene in Charlotte.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary?
I’ve been so fortunate to be surrounded by people who were living out their faith and giving their lives away ever since I took hold of my own relationship with Christ. I’ve felt called to ministry since my freshman year of college and that has only grown as I’ve transitioned into full time ministry. I have always had a passion for sports and have seen the ways doors are opened to share the gospel in unique ways through coaches, teammates, and the game itself. I am thrilled to be a part of the Charlotte Eagles and am excited to see what the Lord has in store for our city and beyond!

Jordan Clelan

DIrector of Operations

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Kate & Peter Williams

Position: Girls Director of Coaching

About me:
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I played soccer from the time I was six years old, and have always loved the game. While I was raised in the church I didn’t really come to know God until just before my senior year in high school. After high school I played soccer for four years at Grove City College (in Grove City, PA) where I met my husband, Peter. We got married shortly after I graduated in 2006. I worked in Youth Ministry for five years post-graduation, and coached high school soccer from 2011-2020. Peter and I have three crazy & amazing kids: Keane, Adele, and Iris.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary?
Becoming a missionary is not something I ever thought I would do, but that’s true of so many things God has led me to and through in my life. I ended up here because it has been one of the clearest calls God has given me. He sought me out, and cleared the way. This is 100% his.
I have seen soccer and sports provide such great avenues to connect with people over the years. It is one way to show that while we want to be excellent on the field, how we conduct ourselves off of the field and where we place our identity are ultimately more important.

Kate & Peter Williams

Girls Director of Coaching

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Lily Lowe

Position: Resident

About me
My name is Lily Lowe, I am the oldest daughter of Johnny and Larissa. I have four younger siblings, three girls and one boy. I have lived in NC for almost my whole life and I have a deep love for this place and these people. Jesus has changed my life in every possible way and I will never be able to articulate just how beautiful the life He has given us truly is.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
I have always wanted to do mission work, and then God pointed me towards the Charlotte Eagles. He opened this door with ease and peace, and then closed other doors with some pain but ultimately clarity. The biggest thing I want to do with my life is to love people the way Jesus does. I believe that the Charlotte Eagles is a strong vessel to reach people and share the gospel with them, to live life with them and to love them the way Jesus does.

Lily Lowe

Resident

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Luke Beamer

Position: Eagles Campus Fellowship Nat'l Coord.

About me: 

Hey! I’m Luke! I’m from Durham, North Carolina. I graduated in 2021 from Gardner-Webb University from a bachelors degree in Exercise Science and minor in Discipleship. In my four years at GWU, I played college soccer, led Young Life at Shelby High School, was an assistant soccer coach for Shelby High school, and started a faith blog called Unlabeled. I have spent the last year doing a residency program with Hope Community Church in Shelby, NC focusing on their college ministry program. Some big loves of mine are soccer, writing, music, and the outdoors. I’m thrilled to be apart of ECF and the Charlotte Eagles organization, and can’t wait to begin!

How and why I became a MAI missionary: 

I first got connected with the Eagles when I was an athletic training intern for the summer and found myself loving the community and mission. Blending ministry and soccer has been something I always imagined I’d do, just never thought it could be my full-time job. I’ve heard it said “Living out God’s purpose for your life is often found in the things He’s given you passion for.” For me it’s simple, students and soccer is my passion, so then it only becomes about working for His glory. Here at the Eagles and everyday of my life, I want the work of my hands to be for God’s glory.

I’ll be honest, answering why I choose to be an MAI Missionary is hard for me because I don’t like calling myself a missionary. I think we’ve all been called to be missionaries, we just choose different ways to be them. Nevertheless, I think the reason why we choose to live out that mission has a common answer. Meeting Jesus gives you vision for a life you could never know without Him. When you have experienced how different your life is in Christ, it gives you vision and passion for how others also could be radically changed by Him. What Jesus has done in my life is this greatest thing that has ever happened to me and the greatest thing I could ever offer anyone else– it’s why I go.

Luke Beamer

Eagles Campus Fellowship Nat'l Coord.

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Marco Diaz

Position: Boys DOC South/USL2 Asst. Coach

About me:

I grew up in Asheboro, North Carolina. I attended Montreat College, John Wesley University, and Piedmont International University. Throughout my four years of college I was able to get my bachelors in Christian Ministries. I have 2 younger brothers. Some of my favorite hobbies include reading, watching soccer, and spending time with friends and family.

How and why I became a MAI missionary:

I became a MAI Missionary because of the impact my coaches were able to make in my life growing up. I had a distinct journey where I was influenced by different men that continuously pointed me to God. Through being an MAI Missionary, I get the opportunity to do the same for others

Marco Diaz

Boys DOC South/USL2 Asst. Coach

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Mark and Dianne Steffens

Mark & Diane Steffens

Position: Sporting Director

About me

We raised our three daughters on Long Island before moving to Charlotte to join MAI. We now have three son-in-laws and we’re extremely grateful that all three families love and serve our great God. They have 10 children making us grandparents….10 times!
While ministering with MAI, I coached the men’s pro team for 18 seasons. Our emphasis was and is on building men and women to love God and serve others.
Currently, I’m helping rewrite our Sports Ministry Training manual and Coaching Track curriculum with a few other staff members. We are a training mission so we feel it is imperative that the material we teach our players/coaches is quality and honoring to God.
Diane is currently a substitute teacher at a few Christian schools in Charlotte.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary

In 1990, Diane and I went on tour to Italy, Germany, and Poland with MAI. We both caught a vision of “soccer ministry” and how effective it could be. We decided to go on tour the following year to Russia and once again saw the platform a simple soccer ball created. We started praying about God’s call in our lives and in 1997 we joined MAI full-time. Since that time, we have witnessed many people come to saving faith in Jesus through MAI ministry endeavors.

Mark & Diane Steffens

Sporting Director

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Michael & Mary Kovach

Position: USL2 Head Coach

About us

MICHAEL

Christianity never felt like a choice for me. It was something that I was supposed to do or be a part of. Something that society or the circles around me forced me to engage in. I didn’t want it and wasn’t for it, so in high school, I ran as far away from God as I could. Pride, partying, drinking, drugs, all of the bad things. That’s where I was. After an overdose in 2010, I met God, in person, and He raised me to life (literally). My life was given purpose. Love the lost, the broken, and the unworthy – show them Jesus’ love.

God’s call for me led me to attend and play soccer at Messiah College (now Messiah University) where I was surrounded by an incredible community of godly men. People on fire for Jesus, people that did not care about my past. Where I was in the present and where I was going moving forward is all that mattered. A culture of love, excellence, discipline, and success.

I am a disciple of the great men that came before me. I fix broken people. Coaching is my tool to be able to do this. Soccer is a great common ground, regardless of upbringing or current circumstances. Walls are broken down and bridges are built. Coaches are often the most impactful and consistent voices that many young players will have. The Charlotte Eagles are providing me with an opportunity to show our players what it means to love, have solid character, push their limits, and truly know Jesus.

I might not always get it right, I might not always speak the most eloquently, and there is always room for my knowledge of the gospel to grow, but I love my people and I love them well. I follow God’s call for me without question. He has given me endless blessings. An amazing wife, a community of people that love me, and an incredible purpose. I will spend all of my days relentlessly pursuing God’s will.

MARY

When I left for college in 2012, my eyes were opened to the world around me in a way they never had been before. I discovered what it meant to stay at one school for four years straight (which was a first for me), how to navigate the highs and lows of collegiate athletics, how wonderful it is to sit under a professor who SUPER loves their specialty and is a vibrant orator, and the challenge that comes with leaving every summer for a few months, knowing that you will come back and that, inevitably, you and your friends will have changed a bit without each other.

During those four years I worked on the coast for a boss who took my understanding of work ethic to a different level. I spent a summer in Kenya with a mentor who challenged my understanding of sin and the need to embrace humility instead of pride. Finally, I learned that you do not have to read the entire Bible in a summer to sit close to the heart of Jesus. You can do that with the same 10 verses every day for the entire summer.

3 years later, and the Lord has used the city of Charlotte and the Eagles to mold my leadership, my emotional maturity, and my understanding of my calling in His Kingdom.

I get to share stories from all of our branches of ministry, support our coaches and their teams as they compete throughout the summer, and most importantly teach college students that you can love Jesus, pursue excellence, and be an impressive leader all at the same time. I want them to leave their time at the Eagles knowing how to think and ask questions, and to be empowered to lead courageously and honestly.

P.S I also met my husband at the Eagles…. so like. That’s pretty neat.

Michael & Mary Kovach

USL2 Head Coach

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Matt and Lauren Barber

Matt & Lauren Barber

Position: Early Development Director

About me

God led Matt and his wife, Lauren, together while they were both attending Appalachian State University. They married in March of 2012 in Boone, NC. After graduating from ASU in May of 2012, Lauren pursued her Master’s degree in Nutrition from East Carolina University which brought the Barbers to New Bern, NC. In the fall of 2013 Matt began pursuing his Master’s in Sport Management from East Carolina and finished in August 2015. Throughout our time in New Bern the question remained, “What are we going to do next?”. In February of 2015 we got our answer — pursue full-time staff with the Eagles and become parents for the first time! We continue to love the game of soccer and are completely enjoying the opportunity to use it to share the Gospel. We now are blessed with TWO children — Luke and Elizabeth. We love being part of the Eagles family as a family!

How and why I became a MAI Missionary

During the summers of 2008 and 2009 Matt took the opportunity to participate as a member of the Chicago Eagles Summer Academy. It was here he realized that sports ministry was a very real way to share the Gospel. It was during those summers that God placed a call on Matt’s heart to work in sports ministry.

Because of my graduate work we were given the opportunity to pursue working with Missionary Athletes International in Charlotte, NC. Following God’s calling we moved to Charlotte in June 2015 and had a summer full of fun working with camps! We joined full-time staff in August 2015. We are so blessed to be part of the Eagles family and watch the Lord work in the hearts and lives of kids here in Charlotte.

Matt & Lauren Barber

Early Development Director

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Meghan Parks

Position: Early Development Program Leader

About me
I am the youngest of four children, I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to Charlotte when I was 5 years old. I have now called this city home for 23 years. I graduated from UNC Charlotte in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Urban Youth and Communities. While at college I committed my life to Christ in 2013 and met my husband Tanner that same year. In college I grew deeper with Christ by serving in the ministry of Young Life for four years. The last two years we have lived in Clover, SC where I have been on staff with Young Life ministering to the kids that attend Clover High School. Before that I was a kitchen manager at Chick-fil-a and I can bread chicken faster than you can guess the secret recipe! Tanner and I have been married for 4 years and have a beautiful daughter, Tilly Joy who will be one at the end of July. I am passionate about most things in life but above all I know God has given me a deep passion for sharing the Gospel and helping people walk in their faith.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
I first heard about Charlotte Eagles in early 2000’s when I went to a summer camp hosted by the Eagles at Calvary Church when I was 9. I wore my camp shirt as a badge of honor year round and couldn’t wait for summer camp the next year. I played soccer throughout high school and have always loved the game. When I got the opportunity to join the MAI staff in Charlotte my heart immediately surrendered to the idea of joining this mission. God has shown me just where he is taking me and my family in the next season of life and I can’t wait! My position as Program Leader for Early Development is something I know will have Kingdom impact for years to come. I am so honored to use the gifts and abilities God has given me to train, and equip rec team coaches and add a flare of fun to everyday life around the office.

Meghan Parks

Early Development Program Leader

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Rachel Feldpausch

Position: Lady Eagles U23 Asst. Coach

About me

Currently hailing from the mighty town of Dayton, VA, I’m a lover of Jesus, soccer, books, coffee, and the book of Galatians. Outside of work you’ll find me reading in coffee shops, drinking large amounts of sparkling water, listening to music, going on long drives, hiking, or taking pictures of the sunrise/sunset.

How and why I became a MAI missionary

Quite honestly, God just put all the pieces together and placed the opportunity in my lap and I couldn’t say no. All of my life I can look back and remember a passion for competition, and for soccer specifically. When I came to know Christ, my view of competition in soccer changed dramatically. What was something I used for my own gain, became something God redeemed for the praise of His glory.

Just as in life, in competition we take risks, we lose and we gain, we are heroes and we are enemies, we are archetypes of lost hope and hope renewed, we wage war against doubt and voices in our heads, we struggle with the elements of creation and the limits of our own strength and endurance and ability, and we struggle against an opponent who relentlessly seeks after our defeat. All of these things are small echos of the fights that a life of long obedience to Christ might entail. As a coach I get to play a part in small micro-stories of the lives of those involved in competition. In so doing, it’s my prayer that God by his grace would use me to point the eyes of the lives I get to touch back to the reality that these micro-stories experienced in competition can be and are a glimmer of the story of redemption written so beautifully in Scripture. I’m honored to get to step into this with the Eagles this summer!

Glory be to God alone for our redemption through Jesus Christ our Savior!

Rachel Feldpausch

Lady Eagles U23 Asst. Coach

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Beka Severs

Rebekah Severs

Position: East Charlotte Ministry Staff

About me
Hey, I’m Beka and I grew up in High Point, NC. I was blessed to grow up surrounded by Christian community and it was extremely influential in getting me where I am today. For most of my life I sought to follow Christ, but it wasn’t until college that it really clicked for me what it looked like to live fully surrendered. I love people, so much, and I love being surrounded by them in all different circumstances. I love the game of soccer and have played it for most of my life and enjoy just being active and making the most of any time that I have outside. Additionally, I love to paint, have good conversation, and create fun for other people. I am a graduate of NC State University and loved every minute of my time there. I learned so much about ministry in my time there and have loved applying that to my time here in Charlotte. I am passionare about equipping and empowering students to understand all that God has purposed them for and to see them grasp that and apply it into the Great Commission. Living incarnationally in a cross cultural neighborhood in Charlotte has only increased that passion for me.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
As I approached the end of my time at NC State, I knew that I wanted to pursue working in full time ministry but I wasn’t quite sure what that looked like. In college I was able to see what life on mission looked like as involvement in ministry showed me how to take the community that you are surrounded by and live intentionally with the people within it in order for Christ to be made known. I think before I got to college I always assumed that ministry was for pastors and missionaries that went halfway across the world, but in college I could see that my mission field was constantly surrounding me no matter where I was. So I looked into many different opportunities that would challenge me and better equip me to do that, growing inwardly and multiplying outwardly. When it came time for me to make a decision, I had a lot of great opportunities in front of me, but I chose to come work with the Eagles, where I felt I would most grow in where God is leading me and where I felt like my passion for people and the game of soccer aligned with what God’s will is in the advancement of his kingdom. In the time that I have been here, I have grown and been challenged in ways that I never imagined I could people. God has brought the nations to Charlotte and he continues to remind me that I am incapable of doing anything a part from him. I love the journey and the relationships I have been privileged to build in working with the Eagles.

Rebekah Severs

East Charlotte Ministry Staff

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Sam Cox

Position: Resident

About me:

My name is Samuel Cox, but most people call me Sam. I am a native to Charlotte, NC, and graduated from Hickory Grove Christian School in 2017. In high school I played Soccer, Tennis, and Swimming while also enjoying recreation sand volleyball and ultimate frisbee. I coached a neighborhood summer swim team for 3 years and currently coach at Hickory Grove for MS soccer and Varsity Swimming (1 and 2 years, respectively).

I attended Wingate University for two years before transferring to UNC Charlotte in the fall of 2019. The main purpose was to be a part of Campus Outreach and be around a solid group of Christian college students. This is where I truly started walking with the Lord and learning what it meant to be a disciple and disciple-maker. During my senior year, I became a student leader and very passionate about ministry and telling others about Jesus. This passion for ministry work and soccer, along with lots of prayer and God’s perfect timing, led me to be with the Eagles in the residency program.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary?
Growing up in the Charlotte area, I always knew who the Charlotte Eagles were and that they did summer camps for younger players. As I got older, I learned more and more about the known Christian organization and what they did. However, I never would have thought that this is what the Lord had in store for me. I played soccer through high school and continue to maintain a passion for the sport. While in college, I developed the desire to coach, but wasn’t sure where or how to start that process.

My first opportunity arose during the spring of 2021 when the Eagles recreation league needed a coach halfway through the season. That season left such an impact on me that I immediately wanted more and asked the staff how I could get more involved. After meeting with Cliff, two thorough conversations about the Eagles’ organization and their residency program, and a lot of prayer, I felt like this is what the Lord was calling me to do once I graduated.

Sam Cox

Resident

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Sam & Chuck Hope

Samantha & Chuck Hope

Position: WPSL Head Coach

About me
Born and raised in Louisville, KY. Gave my life to Christ when I was a freshman in high school. God led me to play college soccer at UNC Charlotte. He then enabled me to play three years and coach for two with the Charlotte Lady Eagles where He transformed the way I viewed the game. Soccer became a platform for me to share the love of Jesus with others. Since then God has sent me to coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University, play professionally in Sweden, and coach at Gardner-Webb University. He has enabled me to coach youth soccer for several different clubs and also coach ODP with North Carolina and Region III. Recently married and moved to Charlotte where God has a new adventure for me with the Charlotte Eagles.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
I’ve felt called to be a part of this ministry since the day I was recruited to the team. At MAI, my two greatest passions in this life, the Lord and soccer, are combined. Even though God has led me to different areas of the country because of soccer, I believe those experiences were only to prepare me for this next step as a full time missionary. My experience as a player and coach within this ministry was transformational and I desire to partner with the Lord to create a similar experience for others that come through this program and this curriculum.

Samantha & Chuck Hope

WPSL Head Coach

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Spencer & Morgan Lewis

Position: Sporting Director

About me
My wife Morgan and I met in college at the University of South Carolina in 2007 and got married in June 2012. God blessed us with our daughter, Chloe, in February 2018 and our son, Tanner, in September 2021..

We are flawed but forever grateful for the love the Father has for us, and that He showed that love by sending Jesus to die on the cross to cover our imperfections. We are forever grateful for Jesus’ obedience in fulfilling His purpose on earth so that we can experience Him now and live with Him forever after this life. Following Jesus’ example, we also seek to be obedient to what the Lord asks us to do and are excited to serve Him as a part of MAI.

Joshua 24:15 – “…choose this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

How & why I became a MAI Missionary
John 10:27 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Our whole lives (and more specifically, the past decade) we have been on the fun journey God has had for us – and this role and organization is where He has led us. While we prayed over many decisions in the past and can now see the Lord’s hand in them, we have never been more at peace that we are where God wants us and has asked us to be. In His perfect timing and preparation, we are excited to serve our purpose on earth with MAI. It is our prayer that His name and His glory is known in every detail of our story.

We would love to have you partner with us in any way you can and feel led, and would love it if you would allow us to pray for you wherever you are.

Please connect with us at slewis@charlotteeagles.com if you would like to hear the details of our lives that have led us to this point and what He has placed on us for this season.

Spencer & Morgan Lewis

Sporting Director

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Tori Collar

Tori Collar

Position: WPSL GK Coach, GK Director

About me

I have loved Jesus since a very young age and have been in the sports world since I was about three years old. I played soccer and basketball until my senior year in high school and chose to pursue college soccer from there. I played Division I soccer at Liberty University as a goalkeeper and played for the Charlotte Eagles in the summer of 2017. In my free time I enjoy playing guitar, going on hikes, working on wood projects, and doing pretty much anything outdoors.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary 

I have always had a passion for soccer and having been rooted in my faith and love for Christ, I could not surpass the opportunity to combine both of these loves to help develop people of all kinds to become better soccer players, but more so, more faithful believers and followers of Jesus. I played for the Charlotte Eagles in the Summer of 2017 and from that point forward I knew that this was the line of work that I wanted to be involved in. The kind where relationships are formed through a great sport, but relationships with Christ are grown and fostered in unique ways. Without Him we are nothing and He sacrificial love He has given us is a gift that needs to be proclaimed to all. I want to be a part of this call He has given us through sports ministry.

Tori Collar

WPSL GK Coach, GK Director

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Scott & Jessica Jones

Travis & Jessica Jones

Position: East Charlotte Ministry Director

About me

I am the East Charlotte Ministry Director. I live with my incredibly graceful wife, Jessica, and our three children in an East Charlotte refugee/immigrant community. Although our family may appear to be completely out of place, we feel right at home with our neighborhood friends. If you ever want to stop in or go grab a coffee please contact me.

Travis & Jessica Jones

East Charlotte Ministry Director

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Tina Y

Position: Urban Eagles Administrator

About me:

I am originally from Vietnam! When I was three years old, my family and I moved here to the States and we have been here since. I am the youngest of four kids and I have 3 amazing older brothers. A little fun fact about me is that I actually run a food Instagram account with one of my friends, so you’ll probably find me at a coffee shop or restaurant of some sort getting some content ;). I love all things soccer and I am continually amazed at how this one sport can be a tool to spread the gospel.

 

How & why I became a MAI missionary:

I am actually an East Charlotte kid. For many years, my family and I lived at Birchcroft, one of the founding neighborhoods for the Urban Eagles neighborhood ministry program. This is actually where I was first introduced to soccer. My family has always been Christians, but my faith was never my own and I never pursued to have my own relationship with Jesus. While we were living in Birchcroft, missionaries from the Eagles and MAI started to come into the neighborhood and just displayed Jesus’ love and kindness. As I got older and really started to understand who Jesus was, I realized that I wanted to have my own relationship with Him. The missionaries that became my neighbors showed me what it was like to truly love Jesus and to live your life for Him. Whenever I think of this opportunity of me becoming an MAI missionary, I am just in awe. I have seen how Jesus has worked in my life and just how good He has been to me. This is truly a full circle; I used to be one of the kids who was being poured into, and now I am working for an organization that has had such a huge impact on my life. I grew up being around people who worked for the Eagles, and it is just so cool to think about how I am stepping into this new position with the Eagles. Jesus is so good and I can’t wait to see how He will use me in this new season of life. Go Eags forever.

 

Tina Y

Urban Eagles Administrator

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William Cooper

Position: Asst Coach Lady Eagles / Eagle Wings Coordinator

About me

I was born in Long Beach, Ca; brought-up in England, the City of Bristol, by a single mom. I grew up with great family values, some Church and lot’s of sport at school, especially soccer & tennis. I began a career in Sales & Marketing, while playing soccer at the Semi-Pro level. I took a sabbatical back in the USA in 1998 and started in San Francisco, enjoying sales & marketing for San Francisco Ballet & Opera, and Part-time Youth Soccer Coaching.

In 2004, while flying into Boise ID for a Director of Coaching position, I met a man named George K on the Flight. George introduced me to The Pursuit Church, and I took George to coach at my new Soccer Club; Boise Nationals SC. God was clearly at work in my life at this time. I accepted an internship on staff at the church and worked with TOPS Soccer, serving special needs kids in the community.

On August 15th, 2007, I was saved & baptized and had also found my second love of people with disabilities. Soccer Coaching and TOPS after Jesus…has continued at all levels; Rec, Youth, Club, College, and National Women’s Team in England, USA and Spain.

How & why I became a MAI Missionary?

Whilst, praying for a new home to do Ministry and Soccer I found both with the Charlotte Eagles.  As Assistant Head Coach for the Lady Eagles WPSL team, I will help train and equip elite college soccer players to develop and be ready for a potential Professional career as well as encourage continued spiritual growth serving on and off the field.

As the Eagles Wings Coordinator, I am excited to create and develop a new special needs soccer program in the Charlotte community to serve youth with physical and/or cognitive/intellectual challenges.

William Cooper

Asst Coach Lady Eagles / Eagle Wings Coordinator

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