Daniel Laiser grew up in Tanzania with a love for soccer and a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. He played soccer through college and then went to medical school. While working, he joined the village soccer team and shared Jesus with teammates and opponents during halftime and after games. Laiser learned he loved talking about Jesus and felt a growing desire for more opportunities. Could he continue to share about God on the soccer pitch in even greater ways?
The question was answered in 2009, when Laiser lived in Iowa on an exchange program, where he discovered FCA. He quickly plugged in and soaked in information on the ministry and its vision.
“I had an idea to share Jesus, but had to know how,” he said.
Taking his newfound knowledge back to Tanzania, he connected with FCA South Global VP Vincent Asamoah when he came to visit Laiser in 2021. Once aligned, Laiser’s mission through FCA was clear: Focus on coaches.
“If we capture the heart of the coach, then the coaches capture the heart of athletes,” Laiser explained. “Some coaches can influence 20-50 kids at a time.”
In Tanzania, many broken relationship systems have created a fractured generation of young men who don’t know how to live out an authentic relationship from the Christian faith many profess. Laiser wants to change all of that through the word of the Lord and the power of coaches.
Many young men in Tanzanian communities come from single-parent households, with fathers absent and disengaged, so they continue the cycle of relational lack of responsibility and spiritual guidance.
But Laiser longs to disrupt this pattern. “I want to raise a generation to see what it means to be a man and father,” he said. “I want to reach out to these young men but can’t without my coaches.”
Laiser has five core coaches he pours into, texting them regularly with encouragement and meeting with them in a monthly coaches Huddle, both on Zoom and in person. They’ve gone through E3 Discipleship and Laiser is impressed at how quickly coaches have picked up the concept.
Villages and towns in Tanzania are scattered and far apart, making it difficult to get all the coaches together on a regular basis. But Laiser holds tournaments throughout the year to bring teams together and equips his coaches to host weekly Huddles with their players.
“I am mobilizing coaches for service,” he said. “My intention is to reach out to two new coaches each month as I work to support them.”
This holistic approach to coaching impacts not just the teams, but communities. One coach came to Laiser wanting to avoid responsibility with his girlfriend and leave the village. Laiser shared about finding character and identity in Christ when we lay our burdens down. The man didn’t say anything but approached Laiser a week later to share he made amends with his girlfriend’s family and has taken on responsibility for his son. He and his girlfriend are now married, and this coach now helps other young men to make the right decisions and increase the presence and influence of a father.
Transformation stories like this encourage and fuel Laiser as he keeps leaning close to the Lord as he leads coaches in Tanzania. “God has been teaching me so many things, but one of the most important is that anything I plan or say is not about me, but what He has put in my hands to bring souls to Jesus.”
Laiser embodies John 15:8: “When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.” There is glory in his daily pursuit to dig deeper with coaches and grow their hearts towards athletes. God is just getting started in Tanzania and coaches are key.
God is moving on soccer fields throughout Tanzania. Pray for Daniel Laiser and his discipleship to coaches, that they may be equipped to impact their athletes’ lives for Christ. Please pray for the growth of his ministry and for volunteers who will take the vision and spread to villages across the country. If you would like to partner with Daniel and donate to FCA Tanzania, click here.