Rapids’ Thompson had Christian faith shaped by hard knocks

By John Meyer | The Denver Post

COMMERCE CITY — When the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow, Rapids midfielder Wells Thompson was thrilled for reasons that had little to do with how well Tebow can throw a football.

Thompson is an evangelical Christian who has gone on missions to the Dominican Republic, Kenya and Zimbabwe. He has slept in mud huts with African tribes and is a regular at his team’s Bible study meetings. He considers Tebow a great role model.

“He’s an inspiration to anybody who loves Jesus, especially to an athlete who loves Jesus,” said Thompson, 26. “Especially to me, because I haven’t always been open about my faith. The older I get, I’m trying to be more open, I’m trying to live for Christ.”

But Thompson’s journey hasn’t been without

severe trials and tribulations. He succumbed to the temptations of alcohol and drugs before he was old enough to drive, and if not for a dramatic intervention when he was forceably taken from home and transported to a therapeutic boarding school, he might not have survived adolescence.

“He’s not only recovered, but can use this in mighty ways for a lot of other families,” said Thompson’s father, Mark. “He’s met with a number of children and parents whose children have experienced similar things in the hopes that he can be of help to them.”

Growing up in Winston-Salem, N.C., Thompson showed exceptional soccer ability and a heart for the underdog at an early age. When it was time to pick teams for games, Thompson would choose kids whom others picked on.

But in the seventh and eighth grade, he rebelled and began smoking and drinking. When he got to high school, his life quickly unraveled.

“I started getting heavily involved with drugs and alcohol,” Thompson said. “I say, ‘Running with the bad crowd,’ but I was the bad crowd. I was running away from home, getting in trouble with the law.”

His sophomore year, he stopped going to school, and his terrified parents decided to send him to boarding. Read more.

Source: The Denver Post

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