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David Stair and Brenton Illum
Dr. David Stair (left), athletics director for Evangel University from 1982 to 2014, and Brenton Illum, interim athletics director, jointly announced the addition of men's and women's soccer beginning with the 2015 season.

Evangel University (AG) in Springfield, Missouri, has announced the addition of men's and women's soccer to its intercollegiate athletic offerings, beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

This will be the first time the university has offered women's soccer and the first time to offer men's soccer since the 1974 season. 

"We are really excited about being able to meet this need," said Brenton Illum, interim director of athletics. "We have prospective students and passionate alumni who have been asking for this for years."

Illum said that there are many student athletes who want to study at Evangel, but who also want the opportunity to play college soccer and be a part of the team dynamic. "Adding men's and women's soccer allows us to meet that growing need," Illum said.

Evangel, a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), will hire a full-time soccer coach this fall. The coach will spend the year recruiting, purchasing equipment, and connecting to alumni, partners and conference personnel. In June 2015, a second coach will be hired in preparation for the launching of the fall 2015 men's and women's soccer seasons.

According to Evangel President Carol Taylor, "The addition of soccer responds to a need in athletics to serve a broader group of student athletes. This is aligned with our university goals of providing quality academic and student programs and growing our enrollment.

"Our athletics program provides a rich opportunity to develop scholar athletes who value self-discipline, teamwork, and both personal and team excellence in a university environment that is committed to the integration of Christ-centered learning, living and service," she said.

Dr. Grant Jones, professor of psychology at Evangel, grew up as the son of missionaries in Senegal and Nigeria. Soccer drew him to Evangel in 1973, and the team experience helped him assimilate into the American culture and the Evangel family.

"As a person who was on the last EU soccer team and who is at Evangel today due to this, I am thrilled that it is returning," he said. "I can't wait to see its impact on the lives of men and women who will be blessed by this opportunity."

The previous Evangel men's soccer team, which started in 1967 as an intercollegiate sport, went 51-27-9 in eight seasons, achieved a NAIA national ranking of #20 in 1972, and its best overall record was 11-3-1 in 1973.

With the additions of men's and women's soccer, that brings Evangel to 17 sports offered within their athletics program. Evangel will play home matches at the Lake Country Soccer Complex in Springfield.

For more information about soccer at Evangel, contact Illum at (417) 865-2811, ext. 7825.


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Young adulthood brings big changes to families

Wed, 16 Jan 2013 - 3:43 PM CST

Kilsdonk, daughter-mother
Lisa Kilsdonk (right) of Baker, Montana, misses daughter Tessa now that she is halfway across the country attending Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.

Childhood is fleeting. That explains why even the smallest milestones - from the first wobbly steps to the loss of a baby tooth - can trigger a swell of parental emotion. Yet few things prepare parents for the often-jolting transition from full house to empty nest.

"It hits us at different times - and sometimes when we least expect," says Susan Yates, a mother of five grown children and co-author of the book, Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest.

Unlike the preschool years, which have a clear beginning and end, the empty nest is not neatly defined, Yates says. One parent may feel sad as a son or daughter enters the final year of high school. Another may not grieve until the last child graduates college or weds.

Whatever the timing, launching offspring into the adult world can be a poignant adjustment for families. Yates, who interviewed empty nesters across the country, says most parents reported varying degrees of loneliness. One reason seemed to be a lack of social support, she says.

"When the kids are little, we schedule play dates and seek out adult friends," Yates says. "But during the teen years, parents get so busy with the kids they put everything else on the shelf - including other relationships. By the time this major life change comes along, they can feel isolated."

Marriages may suffer as well. A study by Bowling Green State University in Ohio identified a disturbing trend among older couples. The divorce rate for people age 50 and older more than doubled between 1990 and 2008, researchers found. At the time of the study, this demographic accounted for more than a quarter of the nation's failed marriages.

Of course, the empty nest doesn't have to trigger an emotional or marital crisis. Wes Bartel, director of Discipleship Ministries for the Assemblies of God, says families can build a foundation for navigating this transition in a healthy manner.

"Early on, my wife and I established the goal that we wanted our children to become successfully independent from us," says Bartel, father of two adult children. "But we also knew we needed to become successfully independent from them. That meant keeping a primary focus on God and our marriage."

Bartel says while the process wasn't painless, he found solace in his relationship with God.

"I remember the quietness of the car as I drove home from visiting my daughter in college," Bartel says. "I prayed and made a recommitment to my personal walk with God and my marriage. I would advise people who are going through that to lean on God. Don't continue in quietness and frustration. Some of the best years of your life are still ahead of you."

Last August, Lisa Kilsdonk of Baker, Montana, sent her youngest daughter, Tessa, to Evangel University (Assemblies of God) in Springfield, Missouri. After spending 28 years raising four children, she says this new life stage marks a turning point that is both emotional and rewarding.

"Some days are harder than others," says Kilsdonk, whose husband, Rod, serves as pastor at Baker Assembly of God. "Sometimes the loneliness hits like a tidal wave, and the craziest thing can trigger it, like walking past Tessa's room and seeing it clean - bed made, no clothes on the floor."

Yet Kilsdonk says there are benefits to having the kids raised, such as having more time to devote to ministry, her marriage and her teaching career. She also enjoys close relationships with her other grown children, two of whom have started families of their own.

"I strongly dislike the term empty nest," Kilsdonk says. "It has such a sad, hopeless-sounding connotation. This time is a natural, normal part of the process of life."

A study by the University of Missouri in Columbia suggests many of the changes parents experience after the kids leave home are positive.

"As children age, direct caretaking and influence diminish, and children are often seen by their parents as peers with whom they can have continuing relationships," says Christine Proulx, assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Missouri.

Diane Ashton, a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter, says her evolving role has left her wondering where to direct the time and energy that had gone into parenting for so many years.

"I'm still working on it and praying about it," says Ashton, who attends Allison Park Church, an Assemblies of God congregation near Pittsburgh. "Fine Arts, Bible Quiz, basketball - that has been my life. Suddenly there's a lot of transition going on, and I'm wondering, Who am I, and what am I supposed to do next?

Adding to the shifting family dynamics, one of Ashton's sons recently moved back in after several years away at college.

"With different kids going different directions, God has made it obvious many times that He is in the middle of it all," Ashton says. "In that way it's all been good. God has shown that He cares about the details of our lives. I'm realizing I don't have to figure it all out. I can stand on God's promises and trust Him with the future."

In today's tough job market, a growing number of young adults are remaining in the nest - or returning to it. A survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found the number of 25- to 34-year-old men living with their parents increased from 14 to 19 percent between 2005 and 2011. Among young women, the figure rose from 8 to 10 percent in the same period.

Nevertheless, most fledglings eventually fly. And while letting go is never easy, Bartel says parents can find satisfaction in watching their children spread their wings.

"Children are a gift from God," Bartel says. "But we have a responsibility to develop them so that God can use them. That also means giving them back to God when the time comes."

Author: Christina Quick, Pentecostal Evangel

 


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