Genuine Gratitude

Coach, thank you so much,” said Francois as he extended his hand for a firm handshake from coach Derek. “He does it every time I pick him up and drop him off for futsal,” said Derek. Francois is a 12 year old refugee from Rwanda who expresses gratitude at every opportunity. For his consistent gratitude, Francois receives the #BallinCharacter award for the month of November.

As an MSA employee was closing up the facility after practice, he asked if any of our coaches wanted some of the leftover popcorn or hot dogs. I suggested that the food should go to the seven refugees that Derek drives to and from practice. Francois took notice of my statement and walked over, looked me in the eye, and shook my hand as he explained how thankful he was for everything we do for him.

You can literally feel his genuine gratitude when he thanks you. His intentionality, eyes, words, and actions show that he really means it. When someone consistently goes out of their way genuinely thank you, it makes you appreciate them and want to serve them even more. Thank you Francois for reminding us to consistently live grateful lives and to not take anything for granted.

We hope November gave players tangible ways to live out gratitude. To take note of what they have, rather than what they don’t.


This December, we’ll be teaching the core value of love. To love yourself (check out this awesome video), others, and the game of soccer. While love is often viewed as kind words and actions, It can also be doing what’s hard, not fun, or sacrificial. All of our core values are rooted in love. It’s a massive word and is easily thrown around, but we hope to teach players ways to practically live it out in December.