Linvoy Primus appeared more than 450 times from 1992-2008 for and against Britain’s very best soccer teams. While Primus is not as well known as some other players from his generation — like David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard — he perhaps influenced my life more than any of those three megastars put together.
Growing up I was soccer-mad. I watched every game, knew every player and all the weird and wonderful facts about each and every team, whether they played in England, Ireland or Nigeria. I loved it, and it was considered cool to love it too.
But the thing was, I also loved something, or rather someone, else. You may have heard of him before — his name is Jesus. Loving Him wasn’t considered as cool. I got teased for my faith and I was having a hard time, but then I saw and heard Linvoy, a key player for Portsmouth (one of England’s best teams at the time), giving praise to Jesus at every opportunity. My friends saw it too, and that was a game-changer for me and for them. Because Linvoy thought and said Jesus was awesome, it became easier for me to say the same things, and follow his example both on and off the field.
I recently caught up with Linvoy to ask him a few more questions about his faith and how it affects his life, and affected his career in soccer.
How did your relationship with Jesus shape and change your football career?
After one year of being a Christian, I realized God had given me a gift to play football. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” This verse reminded me that I can play my football for Him, and that brought me peace.
What was your favorite thing about being a professional footballer and how did your faith change or add to that?
My favorite thing about being a footballer was competing against other teams and trying my hardest to win. My faith allowed me to compete with the same desire but to respect my opponent, (and) the officials. And it helped with my attitude regardless of the result.
Finally, what does Jesus mean to you today and how does He affect your life?
Jesus is my friend, my hope for the future, and He allows me to live the life I am supposed to live today.
Today, Linvoy continues to inspire both fan and friend, adult and child, as he uses his time to other help Christian sportspeople to expand and transform their faith.
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