More than Just a Soccer Player

Lucy Martin’s life of successes and heartaches changed for good when she found Jesus.

Kimberley McMurray, Adventist Record
More than Just a Soccer Player
Lucy with one of her trophies. [Photo: courtesy of Lucy Martin]

Lucy Martin describes her life before knowing Jesus as a “tumultuous journey of trials, tribulations, ups, downs, heartache, success, fear, love, and many, many lessons.” 

Growing up on the west side of Adelaide, South Australia, with her family, Lucy — who was raised as Greek Orthodox — had no relationship or true understanding of who God really was. Sports was a big part of her life; her Dido (grandfather) was the chairman of Football South Australia and recognized for leading football in the early days of the game in that state. 

“My dad was a talented athlete and had natural skills in soccer and [Australian] football in his younger years,” Lucy says. “My parents ran the Adelaide Eagles soccer club for the first few years of my life, so my siblings and I naturally found ourselves in the club rooms, the canteen stealing lollies, and running amok around the soccer fields, completely immersed in the soccer environment.”

After watching her older brother play football and soccer, Lucy no longer wanted to be on the sidelines. She described her first football game at the age of six: “[I] was finally allowed to play due to a shortage of players, [and it was] the best day ever. My team scored two goals and one point; I kicked both goals for their team,” she recalls. “It was clear that I had my dad’s natural talent and the sporting bloodline from my mom’s side, so from that moment on I pursued sport [soccer and football].”

Lucy went on to play in school teams and state rep teams, playing in the boys’ league until 13 years old, and then moving to under-17 women’s at 14 years old, where she continued to work her way up. “I’ve won titles, golden boot awards, I’ve captained teams, trained in elite programs and pathways to become a Matilda [Australian women’s team]. I’ve played in multiple states, winning a title with South Melbourne, and the biggest achievement, playing professionally at Adelaide United Football Club,” Lucy says. “I was known as Lucy Adamopoulos, ‘the soccer player.’ I used my soccer player identity to filter the way I perceived my life.” Adamopoulos is her maiden name.

While she experienced one success after another in her professional life, her personal life was far from perfect. “Many life-altering events took place between the ages of 15 and 23, which interestingly commenced when my parents separated,” Lucy says. “As a young teenage girl, I witnessed cheating, separation, divorce, and deceit. I experienced the messiness of a broken family. 

“The pinnacle of my early childhood experiences was when my mom decided to leave with another man without telling anyone where she was or if she would ever return. Words can’t fully describe the loneliness I felt after she left.”

Lucy described how this event led her down a path of damage and destruction: “My relationships mimicked those of my parents, I formed unhealthy attachments in an attempt to avoid the pain of someone leaving me again.” 

Not only has Lucy suffered psychological and relational trauma, but she has also experienced a number of physical injuries from her sporting days and as a result of car accidents. At one point, a near-death experience left her in a coma, fighting for her life. “There have been moments where I’ve had to start back at square one, learning how to walk again, building muscle memory connections from my brain to my body in an attempt to function and move normally.”

According to Lucy, the turning point in her life was when she met her husband, Trent John Martin. “Trent’s family have been a saving grace, supporting me from the very beginning,” she says. 

“The first time I got down on my knees to pray was July 2019, while I was in a cast with a broken leg. I was reading A Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, a book that Trent’s mum Tania sent me as a get-well-soon gift,” Lucy recalls. “The book said if you take Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, get down on your knees and pray it. So, I did. And that day marked a change, the day I said yes, the day I was saved, the day I was set free of my sins by the power and blood of Jesus Christ. 

“Since retiring [from soccer], I have discovered I was selling myself short and that there is so much more to me than just a soccer player, and the perception of being valued in the sporting world. 

“Since choosing to follow Christ my life has completely changed. I still face trials and convictions, especially as I grow as a Christian and as I unpack my past and childhood, but it’s different now.

“I have God on my side and by my side, Someone who fully understands me, who provides me with comfort when I’m hurting, who shows me unconditional love regardless of what I do, and most importantly, Someone who speaks the truth.” 

Lucy was baptized at Mernda Seventh-day Adventist Church, Victoria, Australia, on June 18, where she and her husband currently attend.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

Kimberley McMurray, Adventist Record