Soccer Combats Gang Violence

September 17, 2014 • Honduras
Soccer Combats Gang Violence

Sport becomes a way to introduce youth to God in a Honduran city consumed with danger

Moises Ayala is the soccer program coordinator in Honduras.

Chotepe is a dangerous area controlled by gangs. Many children in the city have relatives or friends who have already joined, and they often recruit the kids.

Once part of the group, youth learn to steal, do drugs, and commit murders. If they refuse, they’re at risk of being murdered. They can’t move out of the community because the gang members would likely harm their relatives.

The local churches are the only means to avoid this situation. The gangs respect them.

READ MORE about the soccer program in Honduras

Recently, Samaritan’s Purse approached the pastors in the area with an idea to start a soccer tournament. The pastors were excited; it was exactly what they needed to help them work with the children. Because the games were to be played under the direction of the church rather than the school, the gangs allowed them to happen. This was the first time these kids would play in a tournament and receive shirts, balls, and trophies.

Soccer Combats Gang Violence

Children in Chotepe are in constant danger of gang recruitment and violence. Samaritan’s Purse soccer tournaments give them a place of safety.

Before the games began, we had a talk about values with all of the youth while the gang members listened. I shared about two gifts from God—their abilities and salvation. Living in this difficult setting, these children aren’t accustomed to getting gifts, let alone talking about two different ones and then also receiving sports equipment.

The kids in this community have great physical needs, and we are happy to be able to meet some of them. But more than anything, this community needs God. We hope that the love we share with them will create change in this volatile area.