Youth Movement

The big news for Arsenal fans this week has been the rumors about the potential signing of Copa America star Everton Soares. The 23-year-old attacker from Gremio burst into the scene when Neymar was sidelined with an injury. While Brazil’s team was built around the PSG superstar Neymar, it was undeniably the young, unsung Everton who sparked them to the title.

If the reports are true, the dynamic winger will provide danger from the left fllank that Arsenal has missed since the early days of Alexis Sanchez. I’d argue he’s a better pickup than Neymar himself because he creates chances without drama, selfishness or injuries. Plus, he’s four years younger.

Youth brings with it energy and resilience, but its true influence goes beyond the physical. There’s a brashness, a boldness, an enthusiasm to do things differently. The young don’t know they can’t, so they just do.

I can see the impact of youth here on the mission trip in Roatan. There’s turnover every year, and this trip there’s a dozen or so young adults from Connecticut and Florida who have joined us. Just being around them is energizing, but it’s even more invigorating to watch them in action. The vibrancy and laughter is contagious. And powerful.

In some ways, that’s the real power of youth. It sweeps away negative preconceptions. It changes stagnant realities into a world of potential. Combined with skill and creativity, and it’s enticing. It’s why Barcelona brought in Antoine Griezmann, and why everyone wants a piece of Kylian Mbappe.

There’s a joy in youth. I see it every time my wife is around kids, especially when she has a baby in her arms. I saw it yesterday during a boys’ soccer tournament organized by the Roatan Alive mission.

In the middle of a school day, more than 200 young boys flooded the small soccer park, all for the joy off kicking a ball. The smiles and laughter from parents, coaches and our team showed the kids weren’t the only ones enjoying it. (Scouting note: keep your eyes out for the 14-year-old son of Honduras’ 2010 World Cup star, Georgie Welcome. He’s speedy, with a skillful left foot.)

Of course, there is value in experience. After all, Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo before they went after Matthijs De Ligt. And it was the veteran who encouraged the young Dutch defender to join him at Juve. Great players never lose the joy of the game, but they adapt. They make the transition. Allowing youth to have its day, but providing the insight of experience. Wisdom and hope is a powerful combination. Not just on the soccer field, but in the real world. Great things happen when vision meets drive.

Thanks to all of you who wrote in with your questions. I’m picking seven out to answer tomorrow, God willing. It’s great to hear from you. Keep them coming, and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.

And thanks for all the prayers and wishes following my Bell’s Palsy attack. I feel better, but it will take time. I’ll pass along an update tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “Youth Movement

  1. These are such true words about youth and soccer. We do medical missions in Jamaica and when we arrive at the clinic with our family the young people immediately expect a soccer (football to them) game. They will play anywhere and they do. Their pitch is on the roof of the clinic and honestly the best part of the game may be that whomever kicks the ball over the wall has to run down the mountain to retrieve it before the goats eat it. Why keep score with goals when you have goats to keep you accountable? So, our children have fond memories of soccer in other countries with new friends and different rules. It’s a true blessing. Hope you are well. We enjoy your blog!

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