As a junior in a public high school in Marietta, Georgia, Marvell Lareche never imagined that in two years he would be playing soccer at Bob Jones University as a nursing major. But Lareche soon discovered that God had very different plans in store for his future.
Lareche began playing soccer at a very young age. “It all started with my dad; he bought me a soccer ball when I was learning how to walk,” Lareche said.
Originally from Haiti, Lareche enjoyed soccer as a big part of his culture.
It was not until his middle school years that Lareche really fell in love with the sport. After watching the Copa América, the South American soccer championship, Lareche knew he wanted to pursue playing soccer.
From the time he was a junior until his senior year, Lareche planned on playing soccer at Georgia State University. He was invited to play on the team by the assistant coach who was Lareche’s coach for the Georgia Olympic Development Program state and region soccer team.
Lareche was sure he would be offered a scholarship and accept—without a doubt— once the coach saw him play at the soccer camp,
But Lareche never made it to the Georgia State camp.
“Everything was working out fine, and then, in December I broke my foot,” he said. At that moment, all of Lareche’s plans fell apart.
For the next three months, Lareche couldn’t play soccer. He came home from school, played FIFA, slept and started the cycle over again each day.
He continued this cycle for two weeks, not talking to friends or eating normally.
The Georgia State coach told Lareche he would have to wait for the summer camp, but the team would already be filled by then.
Lareche knew that he had lost his scholarship and all hopes of playing soccer at Georgia State.
Lareche felt completely lost.
“In my mind, going to Georgia State, I was going to reach people for Christ,” he said. Lareche wanted to use Georgia State as a platform to share his faith.
He began searching for answers.
“I started reading my Bible a lot more during that time,” Lareche said. “I was just like ‘God, why?’ I was going to go to school for free.”
After much time in the Word and in prayer with God, Lareche accepted the fact that God must have a different plan for his life.
“It was during that three months that I realized that I can’t do anything for God,” Lareche said. “If He wants to use me, He’ll use me, but I can’t do anything for Him.”
God began to reveal His plan for Lareche’s life during the summer after his senior year of high school when he went to The Wilds summer camp with his church for the first time.
“The week before, I was just praying God would show me where I need to go,” Lareche said.
Lareche desired to get the most out of his camp experience and to discover God’s perfect plan for his life.
“I made it intentional that I needed something out of this [experience],” he said.
Praying before and after each service, Lareche heard a sermon on pride that really struck a chord in his heart during the last night of camp. He talked with a member of the Wilds staff who told him about BJU.
Lareche researched the school and emailed the soccer coach, Jesse McCormick. Later, he was asked to come to the soccer camp at BJU.
One thing particularly stood out to Lareche about the soccer team.
“One thing I really loved about the team was that even when coach wasn’t around, the guys were still the same guys—they were still Christians,” Lareche said.
Once he was offered a spot on the soccer team, Lareche took some time to think about it before accepting.
After talking with Coach McCormick, learning more about the team and doing more research, Lareche decided two days before preseason in the fall of 2014 that BJU was the right place for him.
“It’s honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve made,” Lareche said. “[My injury] forced me to seek God.”