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Ambassadors Football: sharing Jesus through the beautiful game

Q&A with Martin Bateman, CEO

Matt Holderness Portrait Matt Holderness
4 min

Q: Tell us about the history of Ambassadors

Ambassadors Football was founded in 1990 when a group of young families moved from California to Bolton, England to help churches reach out to their communities through football. Thirty-three years later, Ambassadors is now firmly established in over thirty countries around the world and continues to operate in the UK with staff based in locations including Glasgow, Nottingham, Morecambe, London, Sheffield and Cardiff.

girls playing football

Q: How do you share Jesus through what you do?

The first commandment is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and mind and strength (Matthew 22:7). This verse underpins the entire work of Ambassadors - through football, we believe we can worship God with the strength and gifts He has given us.

Football is also a fantastic tool to bring people together. If a church understands this concept, then footballing activities can help them gather their community which leads to many rich opportunities to share their faith.

Our role is that of facilitator. We are here to help churches organise and run weekly activities and camps, tournaments and other events.

Q. Have you seen more girls and women involved in football as the women’s game has become more mainstream?

Since the England team won the Euros last year, we have seen a greater interest in footballing activities for young girls and women. For example, Claire, our women's leader, has been coaching girls from a local primary school in a new initiative this past year. Throughout this time the girls have become more confident, learned life skills and character values, and most importantly they have learned about Jesus. We’ve also had lots of enquiries from church leaders about running girls and mixed sessions with a focus on fun and participation rather than competition. 

ambassadors claire

Q. Has the Women’s World Cup provided a focal point for introducing more people to the game and to Jesus?

The Women's World Cup, like any major tournament, creates a buzz about the game. This can only help organisations like ours to highlight the great things about life that you can learn through playing football. As the England team progresses, we are seeing more women, and parents especially, asking if there are opportunities to play football.

girl playing football

Because of the rising interest we’ve started running a specific football and wellbeing programme for churches that is aimed at women and young girls in their communities. Through the programme and related social media posts we’ve seen lots of people interested in getting involved with football ministry. Many of these people are recognising that conversations around women's football are growing exponentially and it’s a fantastic starting point for churches to connect with their community. 

Q. Can you tell us about anyone who have come to faith through your ministry?

Working with a group of 16 girls in Northwest England, there have been many conversations about the Christian faith. Many of these girls are from non-church families but are willing to talk about Jesus. This Easter we overran a session because they were literally falling over each other to tell me about their understanding of the Easter message. In a later session several offered to pray in front of their parents and coaches. Sometimes it feels like they understand more about the Christian faith we teach them than football tactics! It’s a real joy to see them excited to share what they know about Jesus, His love for them and how He is with them every day. 


We always need people who can support us through giving - and you can do this with Stewardship - any giving this year will accelerate our ability to train churches to reach out to their communities in better ways. 



We would really appreciate your prayers for the ongoing success of our ministry and that many more people would discover Jesus through what we do.


We are in need of volunteers and staff so if you love Jesus and football then Ambassadors Football could be for you! Visit our Stewardship profile for more information on our ministry and explore our website to discover opportunities to serve on staff at home or abroad - or volunteering in our projects based all over the UK.


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Written by

Matt Holderness

Matt joined Stewardship in 2022 with over twenty years of marketing experience from roles at Kendal College and Capernwray Bible School. He has degrees in Business and Marketing, Theology, Management and most recently a Masters in Hermeneutics. 

Through raising awareness of Stewardship’s services, Matt helps people explore the impact their generosity can have on the church and Christian charities. He’s passionate about supporting Evangelism and Bible causes, and has a particular interest in charities that are helping people in Poverty and Debt in the UK.