Living NFP and the Formation of a Soccer Player

by Al Arévalo
Summer 2022

Like many soccer players in their youth, I dreamt of playing professionally one day. To that end, playing soccer was paramount, but I remember being told not to play at a particular park or with certain players and that it was for my safety, and I obeyed. Later in life, I learned that those fields and players were what I needed for my formation, but with it came risk and responsibility.

By restricting me from those environments, I could not thoroughly learn and navigate risk and responsibility.

When forming a soccer player, the first lesson the player must comprehend is risk and responsibility. The risks one will undertake and the many responsibilities one must uphold. As the mentor or coach, I must understand that the player must feel, experience, and embrace these principles. I cannot protect them from the risks nor alleviate responsibility, and they must experience pleasure in the process.

Without this understanding, they will consistently fall back on comfort as the driver and measure of success. How did it make me feel? On the contrary, the elite athlete questions how productive this will be? Comfort and feeling end up on the latter of the list.

Similarly, understanding NFP is understanding and navigating the risk and responsibility of a couple’s fertility. If a couple judges NFP on comfort and feeling alone, they will be somewhat disappointed.

I believe fertility is THE beginning of life. There is so much controversy about when life begins. But many fail to realize that life doesn’t start with a fetus or the act. It begins the very moment one realizes the power of their fertility. Full of discomfort, risk, pleasure, and responsibility. In my opinion, the most prominent responsibility we have as men and women is orienting the young on the meaning of their fertility.

For an aspiring elite soccer player, life begins at the end of their comfort zone. Overloads are to a forming player, as is water to a grower of the finest grapes. Overloads in soccer formation are small to expansive prescribed challenges that form the player like an artist forming a piece of clay into a beautiful sculpture.

More so, I think an elite player is willing and can take on the overloads, risks, and responsibility because of their purpose. They have a clear purpose daily, which drives them to overcome the prescribed overloads.

Wouldn’t it then make sense to say that living out Natural Family Planning needs a clear purpose? Can you define that purpose? Do you think the vast majority agree on that purpose?

For us in the NFP community, that purpose is the direct connection between choosing to bring new life into the world and building strong families. To live out the connection between sacrificing immediate gratification for the common good and living more loving lives. To “create a culture of life.”

Today’s societal push on what purpose is and what to have a purpose in is contradictory. It does not align with our God-given bodies. A wine maker does not grow grapes intended for a juice box!

It is pretty fascinating to compare a bit about soccer formation and NFP. Both take on a heck of a lot of risk and responsibility, and for that to happen, they both need a purpose that drives them to that goal.

Most importantly, they must feel pleasure in that process. In soccer, it is becoming the body, technique, mentality, and emotion of the player they wish to be. In NFP, the pleasure is in the sexuality of both men and women. After all, fertility and sexuality go hand in hand.

We find joy in the idea that each act of intercourse ought to, by its very nature, be open to human life. The risks and responsibilities of that attraction are divine and magnificent.

When Natural Family Planning is understood, and a couple commits to the risks and responsibilities of living it out, humanity, living and departed, cheer in the stands by the millions, Golazo!

soccer-copy
Andreya-and-Al-Arevalo

About The Author

Al Arévalo
Coach Al Arevalo, a professional soccer coach licensed by the Argentine Soccer Federation, is the owner/operator of Just4kicks Soccer School, and mentors players from around the world through Train Effective, a London-based football startup partnered with the Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand. He lives in the Sacramento Region with his wife Andreya, who teaches the Creighton Model FertilityCare System.
soccer-copy
Andreya-and-Al-Arevalo

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