My Trevecca Journey: Embracing Soccer, Service and Lifelong Learning

| Student Life

Gift Ndam photo

My story essentially begins in the summer of 1999, when my family and I arrived in the U.S. as refugees from Nigeria. Settling first in Memphis and later in Nashville, the journey was challenging, and the environment was quite different from what we expected. Amidst moving between various government housing projects, I attended seven different high schools, which made the transition even more difficult.

I began my college education at Nashville State Community College, fueled by a passion for professional soccer. However, my mother wisely emphasized the importance of getting my education before pursuing my athletic dreams. Shortly after, a good friend told me about Trevecca and connected me with Matt Smith, the assistant soccer coach who was involved in an inner-city ministry serving refugees and diverse communities.

Enrolling at Trevecca, I chose to study information technology. The university provided a supportive environment through its faculty, staff, chapel services and soccer team, led by Coach Jeff Carr, who emphasized the values of loving God, one another and the game. God used Trevecca to profoundly shape my development. I even met my wife (of more than 10 years) while playing soccer at Trevecca.

Reflecting on my journey, I don’t think I chose Trevecca, I think God sent me there. During my junior year, I started coaching youth soccer, discovering a deep desire to help and support those facing challenging circumstances. This led me to pursue a Master of Arts in religion, also from Trevecca, and then a Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary, in order to better equip myself to serve individuals and families.

Continuing on this path, I pursued an MBA to open doors to leadership in my career. Trevecca remained my choice because of its Christ-centered education, which empowered me to make a meaningful impact and gave me a competitive edge in the field to which God called me.

Though my world was in upheaval after experiencing civil war, a refugee camp and the difficulties of relocating to the U.S., I believed that with God, anything was possible. I continued to pursue my education because I wanted to learn, grow and be the best version of myself I could be to make a real impact.

Throughout my career pursuits, my love for soccer endured. After college, I continued playing in local leagues while nurturing a passion for coaching and building teams. Later I was able to fulfill a dream by establishing Tennessee Tempo Football Club (formerly Beaman United FC), driven by my love for the sport and my desire to give back.

We joined the United Premier Soccer League with more than 400 teams around the country. The first season we made it all the way to the final four and lost in the national championship. The second season we made it to the sweet 16 and also qualified for the U.S Open Cup proper. We just wrapped up our third season in the UPSL, with our journey ending in the National Tournament Round of eight. Now we are about to begin our fourth season.

Through my time with Tennessee Tempo FC and its nonprofit counterpart, Tennessee Tempo FC Academy, I’ve sought to nurture and challenge players both on and off the field, regardless of their socioeconomic status. God used soccer to play a pivotal role in transforming my life, and I believe that God will continue to use soccer through me to reach more and more people.

Tennessee Tempo FC and the academy offer opportunities for serving, interning, volunteering and sponsoring local nonprofit soccer teams. If you share our passion for soccer, service and making a positive impact, we would love to connect with you. You can reach out at to get more information and extend your legacy.