Carlos Vítor da Costa Ressurreição, 30, shocked Brazil’s sporting world by announcing that he would no longer play matches scheduled from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Ressurreição has made important successes in the past year that moved his Londrina Esporte Clube up from Serie C to Serie B in the Brazilian National Championship, the main soccer league championship in the country. And he was named player of the year, resulting in a job offer from Serie A team Chapecoense that would have doubled his salary.
Ressurreição turned down the job because it wouldn’t have allowed him to observe the seventh-day Sabbath as mandated by the fourth commandment, according to the newspaper Lance! But he is holding to his faith, telling a news conference on Jan. 20 that he wouldn’t even be playing soccer if it weren’t for God.
A year before his baptism, he said, he spent four long months at home in Salvador, in the state of Bahia, without a signed contract with any team. During that time, his wife, Gabriela, was approached by a friend at a hair salon and offered a partnership in producing handbags. The two ladies then started their own business that grew quickly, Ressurreição said.
“In a short amount of time, the profit grew larger than my salary had been in the soccer club,” he said. “That was the moment that I understood that God had several possible ways to care for my family.”
Realizing that God is the ultimate provider, Ressurreição substituted his hope for a soccer contract to focus on a goal which he called “intimacy with God.” and started to study the Bible and pray every day.
When a reporter asked him at the news conference whether he was prepared to choose between his faith and his career. “Without any doubt, I choose my faith,” he said. “Many others came before me, giving me this opportunity to choose.”
“I’m at peace because my life is in the hands of God,” he said. “As long as there are teams that respect my beliefs, sports will always be an option. If not, the Lord has already shown me in the past that He will take care of me.”
Ressurreição’s stand won the respect of some sports commentators. “I’m not religious, but I’m touched by Vítor’s choice,” said Ayrton Baptista Jr., a sports blogger with Globo Esporte, one of the best-known sports websites in Brazil. “His faith speaks loudly.”