“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Everytime Oklahoma soccer player Alexis Strickland takes the field, she says that it is for a purpose greater than herself. After beginning her collegiate career at the University of North Carolina, one of the top teams in the entire country, Strickland made the decision to transfer to Oklahoma and continue her success for the Sooners. As she has become known for her speed and playmaking ability, Strickland says her focus is on using her gifts to inspire those around her.
For Alexis Strickland, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, soccer has always been an important part of who she is. A star from an early age, she would go on to be on her high school’s varsity team her freshman year and finished out her career there with accolades that included being named All-Conference, All-State and All-Region, Offensive Player of the Year, and leading scorer. As she has grown on the field, she says faith has always been a priority for her off of it as well. “As a young child I always knew God had a plan for my life. Knowing there was something bigger than myself or my situation has humbled me in many ways throughout my years. I became a true believer about a year ago and now faith is all I know. My faith in Jesus has changed my life forever, my perspective on life, and my why towards my athletic career.”
Coming off a COVID shortened year where Strickland did not see any action due to an injury, Strickland says that she has been leaning on her faith and keeping her perspective focused on what is most important. For her, that’s using her gifts to inspire others. “Faith is very huge when it comes to playing soccer. Soccer is a sport full of amazing highs filled with so much joy and celebrations, however it does have lows. During the lows is why I’m driven by faith.” Strickland says she has been learning to use her circumstances to stay humble and be driven by joy. “My true joy alone comes from Jesus. Knowing that keeps a smile on my face, and a passion in my heart for the game that will never die out. God’s plans are always bigger than mine, and letting go of that weight of perfection has changed my love for the game forever.”
Alexis also says that she is guided in her life and her career in soccer by a certain verse that holds a special meaning for her. Colossians 3:23-24, which says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Alexis says that it is a reminder for her to not look for praise to her own name, but instead look at her gifts as an opportunity to lead others to Jesus. “This verse reminds me of my why and who my audience truly is. Sharing about the love of God by how I play and why I play will always keep me going.” As she has grown off the field, Alexis says she has been learning that her gifts are an opportunity to point others to Jesus. She wants to use her platform as a student athlete to be a light in the lives of others. “Winning and trophies come and go, but Jesus is forever. Knowing my identity is in him and not my works provides me so much freedom as I play and compete.”
As Alexis Strickland readies herself for her years in Norman with the Sooners, she remains focused on her goals of using her gifts to inspire and uplift others. Whether win or loss, Alexis hopes that she can look back at her soccer career and say that she soaked it up and used it to point others to God.
*Photos in article courtesy of North Carolina Athletics