Saif Alsafeer is leading His way
A typical Florida College student’s path to Temple Terrace begins at a summer booster camp or during a campus tour. For Saif Alsafeer, it began with a very specific Google search.
“I remember sitting down at my computer and typing: ‘Christian colleges in Florida with soccer teams’ into my search engine,” he recalled.
Saif, a Muslim at the time, had never heard of Florida College, but was open to exploring the Christian faith and learning why Christians believe the things they do.
“When I first arrived on campus, I was actually taken aback by the atmosphere of kind, genuine people,” he said. “I wanted to know why all of these people were this way.”
Saif’s freshman Bible class, taught by Mr. Jason Longstreth, further piqued that interest. During that time, his concern for spiritual things had started to grow and he began studying with Mr. Longstreth outside the classroom, a crucial step in his decision to follow Jesus.
“I remember we were just finishing the Gospels,” he said. “And the way Mr. Longstreth told the story of Jesus was as if he knew exactly where I was in my life. He helped me realize what I needed to do, and that for me it was just a simple matter of making that commitment.”
On track to graduate in the spring with a bachelor’s in Elementary Education, Saif was fully focused on preparing to re-enter the classroom as a teacher.
Then an unexpected opportunity presented itself.
On March 1 Saif officially signed with Tampa Marauders FC, a professional soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League. He is currently training with the squad during their spring pre-season while he finishes his degree.
“Well, I’ll have a four-year degree, and I’d like to use it,” he said, smiling. “I plan on teaching full-time during the fall while continuing to pursue professional soccer during the summers.”
A three-year captain of the men’s soccer team, Saif’s skill and leadership were instrumental in the Falcons’ run to the championship game of the 2011 USCAA National Tournament. Now, as he transitions to the world of professional soccer, he looks to lead others by example, always mindful of the many examples that led to his own understanding of the Gospel.
That’s how Saif is leading His way.