Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Thursday, May 20

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 8:37-39

When They Say You Can’t Make It

It was Europe vs. South America, England vs. Brazil, as Liverpool, the European champs, faced Sao Paulo, the South American champs, for the 2005 FIFA World Club Championship. What a year it had been for Liverpool. Led by Steven Gerrard, it had won the European championship for the fifth time, setting the stage for Liverpool to face Sao Paulo for the world title.

The game between these club giants took place in front of 66,821 spectators who filled the International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. The Brazilian team was outshot by Liverpool, 21-4. On top of that, Liverpool also had a staggering 17 corner kicks to none for Sao Paulo. It seemed like only a matter of time before the Reds, led by Gerrard, would score. And score they did, three goals — each to be called back for offside.

So against the odds it was Mineiro who put his Brazilian team ahead with the only goal of the game. His score in the 27th minute was described by USA Today as “a goal of breathtaking simplicity. A simple chipped pass released to Mineiro, who made a clever run from right to left … then quickly brought the ball under control before stroking the ball past” the Liverpool goalkeeper.

Who was this unlikely goal scorer in the biggest match of the year? Nicknamed Mineiro, Carlos Luciano da Silva was told he would never make it in soccer. How did he respond?

“I have to say that I am very happy to have overcome a lot of challenges. Especially in soccer, so many people did not believe that I was going to make it as a pro. I say that because often when people see me for the first time and they see my type and my height, they say, ‘He’s so small,’ and ‘How will we fight and defend the ball against players who are normally taller than he is?’ I have heard that since I was a child.

“But God always gave me strength to not get discouraged and to not give up. In spite of my physical limitations, God made me strong and he made me fight for my dreams. Never give up your dreams and goals, even if it is difficult and even if people doubt your work and may be saying words that make you feel like giving up. For sure you have the great opportunity to win. Maybe not in soccer, but as a person.”

David Irby, author of “Undefeated”

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