FORT McDOWELL – Cramped inside an RV on an Indian reservation outside of Scottsdale has everything Dan and Erin Redwine need to be happy.
They have their four young daughters – Shea, 11, Josie, 8, Macy, 3, and Mackenzie, 1 – their 5-year-old Goldendoodle, Charlie; and their four birds – Sunny, Lola, Cloud and Raindrops.
Outside, the children spotted a roadrunner they’ve named Speedy.
About 25 miles away, Dan and Erin lead Scottsdale Christian Academy’s boys soccer team, as they look for new leads to conduct soccer camps and spread their Christian beliefs.
This is their world now, one motivated by Bob Goff’s book Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World.
They call themselves “soccer missionaries,” leaving behind secure jobs and a nice home in a Seattle suburb after getting help from a friend to finance an RV. They started their journey of discovery with their young family in tow in what they call their “Faith, Hope, Love Soccer Tour.”
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They answered an ad in the summer for the open soccer job at SCA and got it.
Despite initial shock from their families that then turned into support, and a bit of trepidation from Erin, their lives are now anchored in an RV park, across from a tennis court. In the spring, they’ll drive their home to Austin, Texas, and take perch for another opportunity to touch lives through Redwine Soccer. They’ll return to the Seattle area in the summer to run their soccer camps.
Erin now helps Dan with his soccer practices and helps their two oldest daughters with home-schooling assignments. They’re a positive audience for Josie, who plays music on a keyboard in their RV. Charlie is what Erin jokingly calls their vacuum cleaner, cleaning up any messes on the floor.
“I dragged my heels,” Erin said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do it. It’s just that I was afraid. I was afraid of, ‘Gosh, what will people think? What is the responsible thing to do? How will that look? Don’t you like having a house for your kids? What about stability?’ All of these questions haunted me, really. God just really spoke to me.”
Erin said she felt clarity after the Scottsdale Christian job offer came.
“My heart’s desire truly is, ‘Hey, God, I’ll do what you want me to do,’ ” Erin said. “Life is too short.”
They’ve had to be patient, relying on their faith to open financial doors to help them make it in order to spread their faith to kids in church camps.
“We’re going to start knocking on some doors,” Dan said. “We know we can’t just sit here and have the world come to us.”
It is in the early developmental stage, but there is a chance that after this season, Scottsdale Christian’s soccer team could be going to Uganda to support the school that Goff’s Love Does runs there.
“We knew there was more to this whole thing than soccer at SCA, but SCA was the starting point and the door God opened for us that has led to so much more,” Dan said.
Both 38, Dan, who played at NAIA Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash., left a job as the vice president of business development at Metova, a tech company based in Nashville that bought out his company in 2015. Erin, who played six seasons for the Seattle Sounders before retiring in 2011, founded and coached the Northwest University women’s soccer team from 2005-12. She was twice named Cascade Conference Coach of the Year.
Dan calls Erin the “soccer star” in the family. Both have their U.S. Soccer Federation coaching licenses.
“I had that VP tech job, but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t fulfilled,” Dan said. “I felt like that wasn’t what I was created to do.
“I quit in August, and this all came together rather quickly. I had one foot in and one foot out a little bit.”
Both hoping to soon become pastors, they were able to purchase an RV from a friend, rent their house and get the SCA job.
“All of these doors had to open to get us to here,” Dan said. “So I said, ‘OK, I guess we’re going. We’re doing it.’
“And we read this book by Bob Goff, called, Love Does, and that really inspired us to go. He tells a story about doing like what Jesus called his followers to do, like love people, serve people.”
Dan moves his hand downward as he says, “Sometimes it feels like the financial plane is going like this.”
He has applied at places to wait tables. Their summer camp registration has started. That will help. When they put on these Faith, Hope, Love soccer camps, they ask for donations from churches that host them.
“When you hear what they’ve sacrificed personally, as little as they have now, they’re giving the most,” said Chuck Gibbs, SCA’s athletic director who hired Dan to lead the soccer team. “To put your life on hold and go serve, that’s what they are, ‘soccer missionaries.’ They’ve been a blessing to our community. They’re tremendous people.”
The Redwines are launching a “pop up” church in Scottsdale in February, hoping to find a low-cost building or church building they could use on Friday nights to offer non-traditional worship with modern music, short messages based on scripture and some traditional elements like communion and prayer. They’re also hoping to launch one in the Seattle area in the summer, when they’ll take their RV back home.
“The focus is more on Jesus and his spirit that transforms us…” Dan said. “God has brought some incredible people into our lives through SCA that are helping us in these efforts.”
They recently held their first camp. Dan said they are planning to offer soccer clinics every Saturday once they have the equipment they need.
Erin said this journey has strengthened her spiritually.
“I can teach my kids, walk it out, that it’s not just about what we say, but taking action,” she said. “All of the kids we’re going to impact, soccer is an amazing thing to share with kids. Doing what we’re really good at together is super exciting.
“As soon as I said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it,’ I felt the peace.”