When people think of Detroit, a few things may come to mind: Motown music, the auto industry, blue-collar workers, crime, poverty, etc. It’s unlikely that soccer (or futbol) would be one of the first items on anyone’s list. Yet the Detroit City Futbol League has surprisingly grown over the last three years. This recent article on MLive gives a look at the co-ed league, which hosts its end of the season tournament today. After starting with about 300 people on 11 teams in 2010, the league now has about 800 people on 28 teams. Games are played on Tuesday evenings either at Belle Isle (an island park in the Detroit River between Canada and the US) or at Historic Fort Wayne (in southwest Detroit). The teams represent different neighborhoods in Detroit, and while the majority of the players live in those neighborhoods others are permitted to play as well. Many of the participants are students and young professionals who are part of the grassroots movement to revitalize Detroit.
Though I signed up too late last year, this year I’ve been able to play with my neighborhood team—Brush Park. So why should you care about my recreation soccer league? Two reasons—one general and one about Detroit especially. First, it’s been a great opportunity to get to know my neighbors as well as others around the city of Detroit. Living in cities can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, even in the midst of multitudes of people. It’s important to find ways to connect with other people for the simple fact that we were designed for human interaction. But more importantly, as Christians, we were designed for gospel interactions. That can be challenging if you don’t have any connection with others, so finding common interests and activities to connect is helpful.
Second, there is a growing population in the city of Detroit of young professionals who are moving into neighborhoods and working to form communities (e.g., check out this article on Corktown.) These neighborhoods would be great places for Christians to enter and to seek to establish local churches for the sake of His name.