Football - World University Championships
"Just to have a chance to play with the guys who invented football, it's just like a dream come true,"
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2016 Teams: Football - World Univ Champ
After starting against Team China, Team USA’s first game in the World University Championship, Reginald Langford Jr. was moved from quarterback to receiver. It’s not easy moving positions--especially when you’ve played it your entire career.
“It’s been tough. But in the front of my mind, I keep thinking to myself that God’s plan for me is something different. Maybe God didn’t bring me here to throw a ball around or score a bunch of touchdowns. He probably brought me here to help and impact other’s lives,” said Langford on the position switch.
Langford put the team before himself. If you knew him, you’d know that he's spent a lifetime putting others before himself.
He didn’t really have a choice. His father, Reginald Sr., died when he was nine years old. As the second oldest of eight kids and the oldest boy, he had to become the man of the house.
The family needed to be held together. While dealing with their father’s death, Langford and his siblings were suffering from the remnants of foster care. He has vivid memories of the traumatic time.
“They were rude to me. There were nights where I would get sick. I was in a bunk bed. If I would cough, one of the foster kids would tell me shut up, “Langford said.
“At that time, I didn’t know what to think. They were older than me. They would make fun of me. It was a tough time in my life. It’s a big reason as to why I didn’t want to talk to people. I didn’t want anyone is my life except for my family.”
Once Langford and his siblings were returned to his mother, he never questioned why they were removed from her care. He knew she “had their back.”
In hopes of a fresh start, Langford’s mother, Malika, moved the family from Detroit and followed his grandparents to California.
He took up football wanting to honor his father. He was pretty good, too. He starred at Cordova High School. He had Division I offers. But he didn’t complete his course requirements. He had to go to junior college.
He chose American River College. Although they were one of the best junior colleges in the nation, Langford started to lose his love for football and stopped going to class. His grades suffered, and he couldn’t get into a Division I school. He decided to attend NAIA Sterling College.
At Sterling, Langford never settled. He was bitter. He was bitter that his father died when he was young , and he didn’t get the experience of growing up with him. He was bitter that he had to put so much on himself as a result. He was bitter that he wasn’t at a Division I school.
He was thrown a lifeline. Easter Illinois asked him to transfer from Sterling. He couldn’t turn down an offer to play DI football and catch passes from Jimmy Garoppolo, a future NFL player. He asked his head coach, Chuck Lambert, for a release. It was granted.
On the way back home, Langford said a voice talked to him and told him not to leave Sterling. He called his coach and changed his mind.
“I don’t think it was anybody but God talking to me. I didn’t have any bad conscience about it. I’m about to go play DI football. I’m one step closer to supporting my family. I’m about to play with Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s going to throw the ball to me. We’re about to throw the ball around a bit. I’m about to make it,” said Langford.
“But God’s like, no man. I got something different for you. I saw his plan. After sticking to Sterling and being with the great coaches I had. The friendships I made. I met my wife. I had my son. That was for sure God having a plan.”
Sterling became one of his top priorities. His number one priority was always his family. And they were struggling.
One of his twin sisters with cerebral palsy, Anjelica, got sick. Langford dropped out and worked three jobs to support his family. He wanted to play football. But he couldn’t fail his family. It’s his “worst fear.”
“I want to be able to take care of them. I want them to have whatever they need. It was tough in college because I know my mom needs help. My mom has to almost carry a grown lady around,” Langford said.
“I’m the man of the house. Why am I deserting my family?”
Sterling didn’t forget about Langford. They called to check in. They didn’t call for football. They called to see how he was doing. It had a profound impact on him. The love they showed him led him to pursue God and give his life to Christ.
Langford returned to Sterling. He earned the starting job--supplanting the incumbent starter. He led the Warriors to their first KCAC (Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) title in 2013.
It wasn’t his natural personality, but he became a leader off the field--serving as an R.A. (Resident Advisor). It was an important step for Langford. He wanted to be seen as more than a “football player.”
Football was still in his future. Langford signed a contract with the Hamburg Huskies of the GFL (German Football League). When he returned to the states, he signed with the Salina Liberty of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League.
Following those stints in pro sports leagues, Langford has returned to Sterling and was named the Director of Academic Support before leaving for Team USA's training camp.
Langford was good to Sterling. And they’ve been good to him, too. He met his wife, Hannah. He has a new son, Ezra. He found Christ.
Langford loves his family. He doesn’t want to fail them.
- Jeremiah for the team
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Coach Trent Figg, our Defensive Coordinator, shared during team time yesterday. "God doesn't want life to be easy," he said as he started our time off. He took us through Scripture, showing us where, as Christians, we will run into trials but that God has promised us much within them. He is speaking from experience, which we learned after he shared with us the story of his son's birth. After nine months of a healthy pregnancy for his wife, the unthinkable happened when the epidural didn't do what it was expected to. With his wife flat lined and his new born baby in his arms all he could do was call their loved ones to pray. Today, his wife and son are alive and well. But he is forever changed.
"God has a plan, He is in the details. You can have peace in trials through surrender," he told us as he explained the peace he felt after he prayed for his son alone and without knowledge of if his wife would live or not.
Coach told us of just a few of the promises that God has made to us in the midst of our trials: He will always come through. When we come to Him, He gives us rest. He will always be with you.
In closing, Coach left us with this quote from Lecrae, "I make a point to show off my scars because it lets people know that we aren't alone....scars are proof of healing."
It is a testimony of how God intends to use all of our stories for His good and His glory.
- Ashley for the team
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