Written by Natalie Henneberry.
I, Natalie Henneberry, write this article with an open and honest heart. My relationship with soccer looks quite different from my teammates’ relationship with soccer. My dedicated roommate and captain, Kelsey Panzau, has a passion for soccer that simply astounds me. My other roommate and captain, Heidi Khoel, will surely have a career connected with soccer, adult fitness, or general health nuttery. My sister and captain, Kayla Henneberry, hung on to soccer because it challenges her and she, in return, has a great amount of respect for it. As you see, I cannot escape the close proximity of my three captains, and I cannot deny the impact soccer has on my life.
This season, I learned that God is faithful. He knows the desires of my heart and provides opportunities to acquire these desires that align with his perfect will. My desires this season were to work out areas of selfishness, pride, and jealousy. I also asked to understand forgiveness in a new way and wanted to know how I could love my teammates with the love of our Father. I sought the strength of Jesus when I realized my strength was not enough. Jesus taught me how beautiful a team is. I often took my teammates for granted, only looking at how they benefited me rather than viewing them as God does. In sports, you become a little more transparent. Both the coaches and your teammates see you in your worst performances. Your character is on display during practices, games, and in the classroom. Consequently, I do not like showing my weaknesses. God continually uses soccer to shape my character. He allowed me to struggle this season because he knows my deepest desire is to become more like Christ.
Our greatest accomplishment this season was beating Principia College for the first time in Greenville’s history. Everyone was overjoyed. God, however, did not use this game as a mountain top experience for me. In my soccer career, I have not hit the mountain top yet. During the Principia game, I missed an open net shot and the world was devastated. At that moment, I chose to shake it off and put forth even more effort, hoping to not miss next time. We had one goal under our belt, but were hoping my shot would take us up to 2:0. We ended up holding them with a victory of 1:0. After the game, however, I felt torn. I wanted so badly to feel the freedom and joy of the win, but I was disappointed in myself. God cares about my thoughts and feelings, but I needed to experience this. He was showing me that it took all 11 players on our team to beat Principia. We all earned the one goal that we scored, as it literally bounced off about five different players. However, if I would have scored the second goal, Natalie Henneberry would receive partial credit for the win. This is our season in a nutshell. All 25 of us were David, and we took down Goliath. When our team plays with its potential through Christ, we can do the unfathomable.