San Jose defender, Shaun Francis: “You shouldn’t be scared of sharing your faith”

Cross The Line caught up with San Jose Earthquakes defender, Shaun Francis to talk about his MLS career and how God has positioned him there.

Talk us through your life growing up in Jamaica, how much has that shaped the person you are today?

“Well, growing up in Jamaica, it’s not easy because sometimes life is pretty hard. My parents made sure that I went to school so that I was educated and I they allowed to play sports. So I played track and field alongside soccer, which eventually I preferred and so pursued soccer while I was at high school. A lot of people in Jamaica are either sportsmen or they become a singer, outside of this a lot of people can take the wrong path and become criminals. For me my parents guided me on the right track in terms of education and I was able to live the right lifestyle.”

Would you say that being a pro soccer player is the best thing that has happened to you?

“It is one of the best things that has happened to me because it has taken me to many different places, I have met many people and ultimately it’s the sport that I wanted. Being a pro soccer player is definitely a very important thing for me but also one of the best things, from my perspective, is just being a good person to people. I take pride in treating people like I would want to be treated, being a nice person and trying to look out for others.”

How are you enjoying your time with the San Jose Earthquakes?

“Honestly it has been pretty good, the players and the team are very friendly, very warm and they welcome you to the team as a family. Being in San Jose, I am not sure whether it is just the Californian lifestyle but everyone is very relaxed and easy to talk to. So being here is pretty awesome to me.”

Describe what you are like as a player?

“One thing that definitely stands out about me is my speed, I am pretty quick. At times you might not think so because of the position that I play in, I don’t really need to use my speed that much. I am left-footed and I don’t tend to use my right a lot, I am defensive, very hardworking and try to always think about my teammates before myself.”

Who is the best player that you have played with?

“That’s a tough one, I wouldn’t say it was a professional player but one of the best players that I played against was someone in high school, this one guy on my school team and he was the captain. What made him such a wonderful person was his leadership qualities, everyone would look up to him and even though he was one of the best players on the team he didn’t think like that. For me I have always looked up to him, despite him not being a professional player.”

What is your career highlight so far?

“I guess, just being able to play as a professional, I was not looking in the path of the MLS, I was still in college and finishing school when I got told I was drafted. For me that was and is the highlight so far.”

How did you become a Christian?

“I grew up in a Christian family, basically in Jamaica it is very religious and for us we went to a Catholic church. During that time your parents would always make sure that you went to church and were tuned in to God, learning about the Bible and what God has done for us. It taught me to live a certain lifestyle and taught me what his plans are for the future”.

Does your faith play a part in your Soccer career?

“Yes it does, faith is a word that people might interpret differently, but for me it’s being able to believe in what we cannot see. It’s believing that anything is possible and there is a reason for what I am doing. I believe that I am where I am for a reason and I think God is the one that has put me in this position. You just have to have faith in that.”

Do you see yourself as a Christian role model to other players?

“I would see myself as a Christian role model in terms of people looking to me and seeing that I believe in God and also as a person that will try to help others also believe. But I am not sure if others look at me as a role model, someone would have to come up to me and tell me that. I just try to be the person that shares a verse before a game or pray.”

Is it difficult to be a Christian in the world of Soccer?

“If you really believe in God and you really think that he is real then I don’t think it’s hard because you shouldn’t be scared of sharing your faith. If you believe in God then you believe in God and nobody should tell you differently. Yes there are those that don’t believe the same as you but if you strongly believe then you should show it, don’t let them stop you.”

Do you have a favourite Bible verse?

“My favourite bible verse is, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13).”

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