As posted on RDG Today – view original link

What a tumultuous year 2024 has been for Reading FC.

As chaplain to the women’s team, you can imagine the conversations have been very different to a normal season as the situation has put a considerable strain on players and staff alike. However, we are still here and things are, hopefully, looking up.

Sports chaplains journey alongside people, in their sporting environments, helping them to be the best they can be in whatever role they have.

We try to bring God’s love and compassion by caring for staff and players, their families and fans, wherever there is a need.

Building relationships of trust is key.

We are available to listen and help people navigate their problems. It’s not all doom and gloom though as we’ve enjoyed celebrating with our younger teams this season.

It has been the turn of our Under 21s and Under 14s to come home with trophies, a well-deserved reward for all their hard work on the training pitch.

Issues affecting players, such as anxiety and depression, relationship breakdown, bereavement and illness are common to everyone, whether you play football or not.

However, injuries can have a major impact on sports people, sometimes keeping them out of the game they love for anything up to a year. That is hard for a professional player and has to rehab their injury for hours each day for months on end, but also hard for someone in the younger age groups who uses the sport as a release from the tensions of life.

Chaplains have time to listen and encourage, providing an extra layer of support alongside the physio.

We would love you to join us at the SCL stadium on Sunday afternoons.

You’ll find a friendly welcome and a family atmosphere. We start again in September – maybe see you there.

Angy King is the Chaplain to Reading FC Women, writing on behalf of Churches Together in Reading.