For the Love of the Game

June 17, 2016

Soccer has been more than a hobby for recent graduate John Hanscom (’16). Even at a young age, he was passionate about developing his soccer skills and would spend hours every weekend practicing his technique.

This dedication to his sport paid off, as it enabled John to play soccer at a collegiate level. After visiting numerous Christian schools on the west coast, he eventually committed to play for Biola University as a midfielder. Playing on the soccer team was the unequivocal highlight of John’s time at Biola – he found a family through the camaraderie among the team and loved getting to travel and represent Biola around the country. John also relished the opportunity to compete at a higher level, as it pushed him to grow and keep challenging himself in new ways.  

“Growing up, I put so much time into my sport – an crazy amount of time, really – so the ability to see that hard work come to fruition in a college athletic experience is really special, and it's one of the things I am most grateful for my life,” John said, adding “The people that I have met on the team and in the Athletic Department have had a profound impact on my faith, have helped developed my work ethic and my ability to work for a team and not for myself.”

For John, playing soccer and sharing his faith go hand in hand. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and it provides an opportunity to interact with people all over the world. While in college, he had the opportunity to travel with other members of the Biola soccer team, and they shared their faith as they played with other soccer players in Japan. This experience reinforced John’s belief in the important role that soccer can play in building bridges with others.

“Sports and my faith are the two things that I can travel around the world and share something in common with people,” John said, continuing, “Sports are so deeply ingrained in many cultures and can play a key role in uniting people together and creating opportunities for faith conversations.”

At the same time that he was putting in hours perfecting his soccer skills, John was also thinking about how he could find a career that would allow him to use his love of soccer. As a young athlete, he was inspired by Nike’s advertisements and the passion and determination they conveyed. During junior high, he decided that working for Nike would be a great way to integrate his passion for athletics into his career and determined to try and work for them after college.

John studied business marketing while at Biola so he could learn how to communicate with consumers in a way that inspired them and excited them about sports.

He also involved himself in extracurricular activities that would further prepare him for his dream job, including taking on several leadership roles with the student public relations organization, 6th Street PR. Through 6th Street PR, John was able to practically apply what he was learning in his business classes and get real-world experience through working with outside clients.

These experiences, combined with his penchant for athletics, helped John land an internship at Nike’s Portland headquarters last summer. He worked in the story-telling department, a small department that helped tell the Nike story to visitors and special guests to the headquarters. John loved the experience and spent his senior year at Biola trying to leverage that opportunity into a full-time job with Nike after college.

By the time he walked across the stage and accepted his diploma in May 2016, John’s persistence worked, as he had succeeded in securing a position at Nike. He moved to Portland and started his job shortly after graduating and has been diligently learning his new role since then. As a Social Media Specialist and Nike Soccer Expert, John works on a team dedicated to Nike Soccer by engaging with customers over social media, recommending products and answering questions and other related engagement tasks.

John is excited for his future with Nike and sees his work there as part of living out his faith.

Regarding his new job, John said, “Christians in business have an opportunity to have an impact. Organizations like Nike have a global reach and people respect and love it, so I can use that influence to make the world a better place. God created humans to work, and there is something beautiful about loving what you do and working hard at it."

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