New League Chaplain trains soccer coaches in Kenya

Jane Witherspoon


Jane Witherspoon

Local man, Derek Livingstone has just been appointed as the first ever Chaplain for the Ballymena Saturday Morning League.

The former manager and player, who has just returned from training coaches in Africa was appointed after a board meeting January.

Derek is delighted to be able to serve the Lord in this way, and provide pastoral help and guidance to players and coaches.

He said: “I will simply be a point of contact for those within the BSML who may be going through a difficult time with, for example, an injury, a family bereavement or loss of employment.

“In today's society there are many who suffer from depression, anxiety and stress.

“There are also those with addictions like gambling, alcohol or drugs and amongst the thirty five teams in our league there will be someone who may feel they have no one to turn to for help.

“Of course as a Christian Chaplain I will be ready and prepared to speak about my faith should the person be happy to do so.”

Derek explained his main role will be to care for the welfare of everyone in the league.

He added: “It is often in times of trial that even the toughest of people start to think about God and very often pray despite having no apparent faith of their own.

“Basically this is a role that I have put myself forward for on a voluntary basis. I think this is something that will be of benefit to all within the BSML family and it is something I have been thinking about for a while.

“I have many contacts with churches and Ministers and being part of the Sports Chaplaincy UK team this would put me in contact with many appropriate bodies who would deal with any issues where I felt professional help was necessary.

“This would be rehabilitation centres for drugs, gambling, alcohol etc. Mental health experts, grief counselors who would be there at the end of the phone where required.

“I hope to visit the various clubs on training nights and match days in the next few months of this season.

“If you or anyone at your club feel you need help in any way please contact me on 07761839976.”

Kenya Coaching

Meanwhile, Derek has been putting his football coaching abilities to good use in Kenya.

Having just returned from a five day camp in Nairobi, Derek was working with local football coaches while sharing the gospel of Christ.

Derek works for Ambassadors Football Ireland, which is a global group that aims to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ to all countries and people groups, through football.

The Ahoghill man was involved in a TREC course. Trec (Training, resourcing and equipping churches and coaches) is run by the Ambassadors for Football, and traveling as one of the official tutors, Derek and the rest of the team reached and trained 90 other football coaches in Nairobi, Kenya during the week long programme.

The programme instills values into football coaches and teaches them the true importance of their role in the lives on young people.

The 90 gathered coaches were from all over Kenya and greatly benefited from not only the practical football lessons, but also from the influence of God and how to show Christian love to the children they will teach.

Derek told the Guardian: "I was away for 10 days, with the TREC course lasting for five days.

“Our work is primarily carried out through churches to young people, however this week in Kenya was aimed specifically at football coaches.

“We want to share the good news of the gospel and plan A for this is obviously through church. However, plan B is using football to reach out to different areas of the community and then use this means to tell of God and Christianity.”

Derek has been working with Ambassadors Football for the past five years and interacts alot with churches and schools in the local area.

This is his second trip to Kenya to train coaches, however such courses take place all around the world.

He added: “It was such a blessing to work with these 90 Kenyans over the week, and we pray that they will go back to their various communities and share what we have taught them, not just about football, but also about the gospel and the love of God.”

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Alpha Newspaper Group

Characters left: 1500