Sophomore Defender Kyle Farris Shares Love of Soccer, Faith in Africa
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Late this past spring, Western Michigan men’s soccer sophomore Kyle Farris traveled to Zambia, a country located in southern Africa, as part of “Kickers for Christ.” Through his travels, he was able to share his love and talent for soccer with hundreds of Zambian orphans.
Originally from Plainwell, Mich., Farris traveled over 8,000 miles to Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, where he worked with children living out of the Chongwe Village and Kalingalinga compounds, conducting free soccer camps and missionary work.
Soccer is the most popular sport in Zambia, and for Farris, it was absolutely incredible to see how the game could connect him with the campers so quickly. He also noted how appreciative the children were to have an activity planned just for them.
A secondary education major at WMU, Farris worked with a number of different age groups. While the younger children were in awe of his skills, the older ones were actually able to compete with him, which was quite a fun experience.
“It was just incredible to be able to use the game of soccer for something more diverse than I have ever done before,” Farris said. “These kids have really changed my heart.”
Farris expressed he would jump at another chance to represent Western Michigan soccer across the globe, whether in Zambia, or in some other part of the world. Not only did he get to share his passion for soccer, but also his devotion to his faith.
“I loved being able to use my love for the game and Christ for something greater than myself,” Farris said.
“I will never take for granted the opportunity I have to play organized soccer with endless equipment. These kids just wanted to touch a soccer ball, let alone play with one.”
Through a donation from the Kalamazoo Soccer Zone, Farris was able to leave behind soccer balls and t-shirts, which will in no doubt bring the Zambian youngsters much joy in the days to come.
In his rookie season last year at Western Michigan, Farris also made an impact on the Bronco squad, playing in 19 games and making four starts. He scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner at Michigan, leading WMU to its first ever program win in Ann Arbor. As a high school senior out of Plainwell, Farris was the Kalamazoo Gazette Player of the Year in 2010.