Professional footballer Brooke Hendrix explains why she loves the beautiful game and how Jesus helps her play well.
I love football because it’s always been a way for me to make connections with people and to express myself through the talents God has blessed me with. The adrenaline rush I get from physically competing against another team with people I care about is amazing.
When I was younger my mum said I was a handful - later we found out I had ADHD. She wanted me to do exercise but I was awful at ballet. So she found a sport where I would exert the most energy possible: football. I’ve been playing since I was four years old.
My mum found a sport where I would exert the most energy possible: football.
I didn’t become a professional until I was 23. I grew up in America. Alongside my education, I played football at the University of Southern Mississippi. After graduating I had to work full time hours in an internship so I wasn’t able to play for a team for a year and had to train alone and with a personal coach.
After that I got a trial at Ajax in Amsterdam, I was gutted that I didn’t make it, but I pulled my socks up and went on another trial at Rangers FC in Scotland. I made that team but it wasn’t a professional contract. Without any money from football, I had to work so got a job in Subway to pay my bills. After that I signed my first official contract with FC Staad in Switzerland, and moved around the word to various other clubs before landing at Reading FC where I am now.
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I think my faith has impacted my sport in so many ways. It has driven me to keep going wherever God leads and to trust him even when I don’t understand where he is taking me. My faith has also been a major factor in my ability to give everything I have when I play because I’m playing for him rather than myself or anything else. My faith has also helped me to use football as my mission to live out my God given purpose of sharing the Gospel with people.
My role in the game is always changing in God’s eyes. I feel God leading me to be the best I can be at whatever role I’m given on whichever team I’m on, whether that’s as a substitute, as an injured player, as a starter, or even as a captain. Being the best I can be is by showing the character of a Christian in any role I’m in and trying to treat everyone around me with the love that Jesus has shown all of us.
My faith has also been a major factor in my ability to give everything I have when I play because I’m playing for him rather than myself or anything else.
I can’t believe how far the women’s game has come and the visiblity the women’s World Cup has had this year! It’s been amazing to see all the hype around it, the number of supporters showing up to all of the games. It’s great to know the women are being compensated for their talents much more fairly this time around. It’s exciting to witness.
My dream for women’s football is that it will continue to grow and that more women’s leagues and teams will be able to support women similarly to how the men are supported. I pray that more strong Christian women will be able to have a platform in women’s football to impact lives for the better.