A look back at Hoosiers star and UCLA head coach Steve Alford

Yawn…yawn. Seemingly just another day at the office for point guard Steve Alford. The smooth 6-foot-2 senior led Indiana University to the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball championship this season, averaging 22 points a game. But his fluid movements on the floor belie the effort and diligence away from the camera that went into his contributions toward the team’s national title.

Alford ended his career as the Hoosiers’ four-time Most Valuable Player. He finished as the number 2 all-time scorer in the Big 10 Conference–a mere deuce behind Michigan’s Mike McGee…

To read our story on Hoosiers star and recently-named UCLA head coach Steve Alford from our Volume 1, Number 3 issue, click here. Continue reading

Rising to the Occasion

I had the privilege of going to last year’s national championship game between Louisville and Michigan. I confess I knew nothing about either team, but as the game progressed, I was quickly captivated by a little, freshman guard on Michigan named Spike Albrecht. Albrecht, who was only averaging 1.6 points per game, caught fire from the 3-point line and single-handedly kept the Wolverines in the game. In 18 Big Ten games, he had 22 points total. In the national title game, he had 17 points in the first 11 minutes… Continue reading

Devotional of the Week — The Fourth Soil

In 2004 Bill Self left Illinois as head basketball coach and went to Kansas. He later won a national title in 2008. Illinois then hired Bruce Weber, former coach at Southern Illinois University, to replace Self. Since Self stressed offense and Weber stressed defense, the first year was difficult for the returning players, adjusting to a new coach and new coaching style… Continue reading

Closeup — Jacob Mulenga

Soccer hasn’t always been at the top of Zambian national soccer team member Jacob Mulenga’s favorite sports list. When he was young, he was addicted to motocross. His weekdays were spent going to school, but his weekends were filled with motocross training and racing. Soccer didn’t become a part of his life until high school. Even then, though, he said he “mainly just watched.” Motocross was fulfilling his competitive desires. Soccer was for fun. “I did not play for any youth teams or academies—just playing for fun at school,” he recalls. “I learned a lot basically from watching. I learned a lot from watching on TV.” But after high school, he decided to get serious about soccer. “After High School I thought, ‘OK, now before you decide what you want to do with your life, play football for a bit and see what happens.’…(former Zambian player and coach) Kalusha (Bwalya) Read More

Closeup — Cyrille Domoraud

For Cyrille Domoraud, the 2006 World Cup represented both the greatest triumph and most difficult challenge of his career. In late 2005, Domoraud, then a 34-year-old fullback from Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), captained the Elephants’ national soccer team to its first-ever World Cup berth, a historic event that prompted a temporary ceasefire in the nation’s six-year civil war. But Domoraud rode the bench the first two games—close losses to Argentina and the Netherlands—before getting a red card in the Elephants’ final game, a win over Serbia and Montenegro. “It was a blow to feel like my efforts hadn’t been rewarded,” he says. “But that’s part of the job.” Earlier in his career, Domoraud might have called the whole episode bad juju. As a native Ivorian, Domoraud grew up in a culture steeped in witchcraft. As a young player he used to wear a good luck ring—one of many talismans he Read More

Closeup — Fabio

Fans call Fabio “the blue wall” and consider him a hero. But for Brazilian goalkeeper Fábio Deivson Lopes Maciel, who has won numerous titles and been on Brazil’s national team at every level, the road to the titles is what’s most important. In 2007, his career was interrupted when he ruptured the ligaments in his left knee during a key game for his club, Cruzeiro, which was playing against its rival. Some thought he would never return. “It was a difficult time but important for me to revise my way of living and it was essential so God could work in my life in a way that I had never allowed him,” he says. “God is the basis of my life.” Adding to his troubles was the fact that people doubted that he was even injured because his right knee hit the goal post, but it was his left knee Read More

Closeup — Lee Young-Pyo

When it was all over—the Fred Astaire footwork, the subtle wizardry, the impressive globetrotting—there was only adoration. As Young-Pyo Lee walked off the pitch for the final time as a professional soccer player in the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2013 season finale, the crowd at BC Place stood en masse and showered the Major League Soccer defender with cheers for two stellar seasons as a hometown Whitecap and 14 years of sublime professional soccer. The sellout crowd—21,000 strong—raucously chanted “Y.P. Lee!” Some fans held up a massive South Korean flag with an image of Lee in the center, covering the traditional yin-yang symbol. His teammates encircled him and tossed him up into the air over and over, like Little Leaguers at the denouement of a feel-good movie. “God is the most important thing to me, not football,” Lee says. “Football is only one of many ways I can glorify and serve my Read More

Closeup — Eddie Johnson

In 2001, at age 16, U.S. professional soccer player Eddie Johnson became one of the youngest players to sign with a Major League Soccer team. Now, at age 30, the accomplished striker for D.C. United has garnered a list of accolades including MLS Comeback Player of the Year (2007, 2012), 15 USA International Goals, 11 World Cup Qualifying Goals, FIFA World Cup with USA (2006, 2014), and CONCACAF Gold Cup Winner (2007). His most important victory in life, though, happened at age 18 when he accepted Christ. “As a child, my grandma made us go to church every Sunday, but I never looked forward to it,” admits the Florida native. “But over time, I began to realize I was missing something. At just the right time, God sent a friend into my life to guide me. He encouraged me to begin my day by reading the Bible and showed me how Read More

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