This USA International says: “God is now my main priority”

New England forward Teal Bunbury took time to share with Cross The Line about his soccer journey and how God opened his eyes.

So Teal, how are you enjoying your time with New England?

“Life in New England is great, my wife and I live in a City called Randolph and we enjoy our time here. It is close to the Gillett stadium and close enough to the city so we can go and enjoy that as well. The start of the season has been a little up and down for us but I think we are hitting a good stretch now and we are looking forward.”

 

Did you find that growing up in England, Portugal and then the US helped your soccer education?

“Yeah it most definitely did, I think the biggest thing was that my dad was a professional soccer player as well so travelling around and being engulfed in the different cultures stuck out to me. I was just able to play soccer every day and that was just a way of life, over in Portugal especially. I spent about six and a half years of my life there and when I was youth I was always playing with the older kids on concrete fields, whatever it might be. That really expanded my knowledge of the game.”

 

Do you see real differences between Sporting Kansas and New England or is club life the same?

“Well obviously you are playing the same sport and everything but there are definitely differences and there is good and bad in everything. I have enjoyed playing for the clubs, I love the supporters and here in New England you have a lot of fans that come to the games, they love the sport. That is definitely growing a little bit here where as in Kansas it is hitting a tipping point with fans really involved, things take time just like in any league. I love it out here in New England.”

 Tell us a bit about how you came to know Jesus?

“Well it started in College when I was at the University of Akron where a good friend of mine Steve Zakuani was playing. I really felt that I had a void in my life and didn’t entirely know what I was missing out on, so I heard through Steve Zakuani about these bible studies that he was having. He was very much about the Kingdom of God and I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to go and get a sense of what that was all about. I had gone to church before and I would say prayers going to bed and before I ate but never really took the time to learn more about Jesus.

Once I met Steve he really opened my eyes to the Lord and I realised that I needed him to fill that void in my life, so ever since then which was about eight or nine years ago I have changed my life and put him first. God is now my main priority and I haven’t really looked back.”

 

Who is the best player that you have ever played with? Why?

“I grew up watching Thierry Henry and he was my favourite player, so he is probably the best player that I have played against. I have played with a lot of good players so it is really hard to just pick one.”

 

Do you have any fellow Christian soccer players that you connect with?

“Yeah there is a bunch of Christian players in the league, when I was at Kansas City Michael Harrington was there at the time as well and he was one of the groomsmen at my wedding. Even on this team Charlie Davies and I met with a guy by the name of Walt Day and he’s part of Athletes In Action over in Kansas City. Also Steve Morgan is someone that I really used to reach out to and we would meet up for coffee and bible study so there are many guys that I stay in touch with.”

 

What’s the best thing about being a pro soccer player in your eyes?

“You get to play a sport for a living I guess, I enjoy coming into the locker room every day, having the banter with the guys and obviously it is serious because you want to win games, but at the end of the day everyone is having a good time. I always joke about it but we get to kick a ball for a living so it’s enjoyable but we also make sure that we take it seriously.”

 

Do you have a particular bible verse that encourages you?

“My favourite verse is probably Matthew 6:33 where it talks about seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. It kind of just puts things into perspective and I know that when times get tough if I continue seeking him he will see me through, things are only temporary. You have to give God praise in good times and in bad times.”

 Does the soccer schedule make it hard to get plugged into a church?

“Yeah it does make it tough but I am able to meet, like I said, with this guy called Walt Day once a week so that helps. Also my wife and I have found a church out here that we try and get to but obviously it is tough when we are on the road, playing on Saturdays and then coming back on Sundays. We just try to go as much as possible.”

 

How proud are you of representing first Canada at youth level and then the USA men’s team?

“It was great, you get to play at a different level and I think every player wants to try and maximise their potential and play at the highest level that they can. To be able to go through those experiences was a blessing for me, I was so happy to be a part of that and hopefully in the future there will be some more opportunities for me.”

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