!Please Note!

You are using an outdated browser that may impact your experience on FCA.org.
Please upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer here or download another browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
Once you upgrade, this notice will no longer appear.

A Dream Fulfilled

Published on October 22, 2018

Danielle Ripley-Burgess
As a high school state and national champion originally from San Jose, Tony’s faith grew exponentially after recovering from an accident that threatened he’d never wrestle again. Not only did he experience miraculous healing, both physically and spiritually (he went on to compete at the collegiate level and attend Bible school), he also received a God-given calling. 

With help from FCA’s Mark Boyer and Barry Martinez, Tony joined FCA Orange County where and set his eyes on Santa Ana High School. He connected with head wrestling coach Scott Glabb who’d started the first FCA Huddle in Santa Ana. Their shared vision made the next steps obvious to Tony, who’d led wrestling camps throughout California with FCA Wrestling head clinician, Coach Jose Campo.

“Coach Glabb had a heart to get the athletes into both sport and Bible study,” said Gomez. “A lot of the guys came from rough neighborhoods. He decided, ‘If I can’t get them to be champions, I’m going to get them to know Christ.’”

Tony Gomez talks and listens to his Santa Ana wrestlers


With a nearby elementary school, Tony saw an opportunity. With a disciple-making mentality, Tony approached three of his former wrestlers about coaching kids in a wrestling program. To prepare, they “dialed in and caught the vision” as they studied FCA coaching resources.

“Two of the wrestlers, Ricky and Gary, even learned God’s Word while they taught it.”

God blessed the program. Participation increased. Business leaders like David Tibi offered financial grants for tutoring programs and giveaways. The city grew from one Huddle to 10 multi-sport and multi-campus Huddles. God used transformed lives to reach others, like in the case of Mario Munoz.

Tony Gomez (left) and Mario Munoz (right)

While it took pizza and drinks to get him in the door, it was ultimately the fellowship that kept him coming back. A broken home and feelings of solitude left Munoz feeling angry, and even got him kicked out of a practice and expelled from school. Yet he kept returning each week. When he attended FCA camp, he got saved. 

“The encouragement from staff and peers was beyond liberating. I remember looking around during my first concert to follow the lead and by the end of camp, I was the first to raise my hands in praise,” Munoz remembers.

Long-lasting friendships, a sense of teamwork, the confidence to try his best, responsibility to complete tasks and the honor to “view myself as something more than what statistics told me I would become” changed Munoz’s life. He joined the military, graduated from college and now he’s returned to Santa Ana to lead the FCA wrestling club and Santa Ana High School school’s wrestling team in the wake of Coach Glabb’s retirement.


God’s continued to bless the faithfulness of coaches, athletes and leaders in Santa Ana who’ve sewn prayers, discipleship and mission into the lives of the city’s kids. After 12 years, Gomez is starting to see the impact - a dream fulfilled.

“I know the hardships the students struggle with,” said Munoz. “I want kids to know there are people that care for them. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be, but the lessons I learned along the way will forever motivate me to help where God needs me.”

“I’m seeing a shift in the city. Kids used to move out and not come back (a lot of wrestlers saw the sport as their way out). But now, kids are coming back. That’s always been my dream - being a missionary to the city. I feel like these kids who were born here will take over and continue what God is doing through FCA.”


“I want kids to know there are people that care for them."  

-Mario Munoz


Photos courtesy of Ryan Longnecker