With everyone caught up in the excitement of the World Cup, we thought it would be fun to do a little research on Mormons who have excelled in this world-wide sport. Tell us who we missed in the comments below!
Photo from DCUnited.com
Texas-born member Daniel Woolard started his professional soccer career in 2005. He has played for the DFW Tornados, Chicago Fire, Carolina RailHawks, and most recently, D.C. United.
Photo from Murilovisck Blog
Brazilian convert Bruna Beatriz Benites Soares was baptized in 2000 and played the position of midfielder for Brazil in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Erroll Bennett and son Naea. Photo from MormonEn Blog.
Erroll Bennett was on the Tahitian national squad and played in the 1973 Oceania Cup. His soccer days almost ended when he joined the church in 1977 due to all games being on Sundays, but fortunately the league opted to change them to accommodate more family time for all of their players. Read the rest of the story in the 1982 Ensign article on Brother Bennett here. His son, Naea Bennett, also went on to become a professional soccer player.
Photo from El Santo Tucumano
Argentine Guillermo Lucas Franco joined the church as a youth in 2002 with his mother. Though he played in division 1 for Godoy Cruz team as a youth, he put his soccer ambitions on hold to serve in the Argentina Mendoza mission. He returned to the sport in 2007 after his mission and was brought back into the Godoy Cruz squad.
Photo from Planet Amarillo
Retired soccer defender Jimmy Montanero earned 17 caps for the Ecuador national team between 1989 and 1993. He played for Barcelona for twenty years, and was team captain for most of that time. During his career, he was widely known as "El Mormón."
Photo from Pasion Libertadores.
Mormon Freddy Rincón was baptized into the church in the year 2005. The offensive midfielder played for the Colombia National team between 1990 and 2001.
Photo from Mitt Romney Mormon.
Milton Queiroz da Paixão, simply known as “Tita,” joined the church at age 11, about the same time he started playing soccer. He began playing for Brazil, but also spent some time playing for Germany. He scored six goals in his time on the national Brazilian team, and has been a first counselor in the bishopric in Rio de Janeiro.