Men’s soccer freshman defender shares his story

Shalom Dutey is a freshman defender for the men’s soccer team whose first career shot was a game-winning goal scored against the University of South Carolina Upstate Spartans in the 67th minute.

Dutey is one of the six All-Americans added to the team this year that have helped the Flames get off to a 3-2-1 start in non-conference play.

Part of the success is due to a strong defensive showing from the Flames, who have only let in one goal in the first half through the first six games, according to

As a freshman, Dutey has started in five of those six games, quickly earning his place as reliable member on the back line.

But before he is a defender, he is a servant.

EYE — Shalom Dutey keeps his eyes on the prize.  Photo credit: Michela Diddle

EYE — Shalom Dutey keeps his eyes on the prize. Photo credit: Michela Diddle

Dutey was born in Togo, West Africa — one of poorest and smallest countries in Africa.

Between tough living conditions and poverty, Dutey quickly developed a negative outlook on life.

When he was five, Dutey’s mother was awarded an opportunity to go to America by being selected in the Visa Lottery.

The opportunity only allowed Dutey’s mother to be relocated to America.

The rest of his family would have to stay back in Africa until they had enough money to send the whole family.

Three years later, his mom had finally saved up enough money to send everyone else to America — but tragedy struck. Dutey’s father died from an illness.

“A month before we were going to leave, everything seemed so right, but my father had a sickness,” Dutey said.

“To this day my mom never told me what sickness or what happened. But I just remember my whole family, my brother, my sister, just stood there. I didn’t even know what was going on. All I could see was my father laying across from me. My brother and my sister were crying. All I could do was just stare because he wasn’t moving.”

Dutey and the rest of his family then made their way to America, where he quickly noticed feelings of being an outsider.

“I didn’t know English,” Dutey said. “I didn’t have any friends. Whenever I would go to school, I didn’t know what they were saying. I remember sometimes when we would go to the playground, since my classmates knew that I didn’t know English, they would just find ways to say stuff I didn’t know and make me seem as if I didn’t know or as if I wasn’t smart or capable.”

On top of that, though his family was in a new country with new possibilities, they still struggled financially.

“Me, my brother, my sister, my mom, my paralyzed uncle and my grandma were all living in a two-bedroom apartment,” Dutey said.

In high school, by God’s sovereignty, Dutey came across an organization called “One7.”

Through a soccer tryout, his life was changed.

One7 is a ministry founded by David and MC Garrett based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. According to, it all started in 1994 when David Garrett was led to mission fields all over the world carrying out the Great Commission.

Garrett soon realized that he did not have to leave the country to engage in missions work, and after four years of independent missionary work in Chicago, he was led to start his new mission in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 2008, David and MC Garrett officially started their own nonprofit, giving it the name “One7.”

The name comes from Jeremiah 1:1-7, where God tells Jeremiah in verse five — “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

That verse resonated with Dutey, as his experience with One7 Ministry was much different than the constant adversities he faced in life.

Dutey experienced discipleship. He had leaders and teammates who truly loved and cared for him as a person, not just for his talent according to

For the first time, Dutey experienced the love of Jesus and was continuously shown the gospel. This love would lead him to give his life to Jesus Christ and develop a personal relationship with him.

“It wasn’t for public view,” Dutey said. “It was just me inside of a [church] bathroom crying, asking God to forgive me. That if I’m one of your sons and you created me for a purpose on this Earth, just lead me through this.”

Dutey’s transformation gave him a new life and a newfound purpose.

“Shalom has become a legendary One7 leader, pouring truth into his peers, boldly sharing his faith with other teams, and training up the next generation to follow in his footsteps.” Dutey wrote in his testimony on

One7 Ministry also gave Dutey his first experience with organized soccer.

In the past, he had only played pickup games with his friends. He developed quickly and eventually joined One7’s club soccer team.

A few years later, Dutey would become North Carolina’s 19th ranked soccer player.

HEADS-UP — Shalom Dutey went up for a header against American Friday, Sept. 16 at Osborne Stadium. Photo credit: Michela Diddle

HEADS-UP — Shalom Dutey went up for a header against American Friday, Sept. 16 at Osborne Stadium. Photo credit: Michela Diddle

In his 62-game varsity career, Dutey racked up 58 points for his club and scored 21 goals while assisting 16 others.

Dutey received titles of all-conference, all region, all-state, All-American, and his team won a national championship in 2016, according to

Even amidst these accomplishments, Dutey was still able to stay humble.

“Everything I did was to glorify (Jesus’) name and to point everything back to him,” Dutey said.

“If it wasn’t for him carrying me on, I wouldn’t be on this path. I am his hands and feet.”

All of these accomplishments led multiple schools to pursue Dutey, but he said that he felt that God wanted to place him at Liberty University.

Dutey now continues his game, and his discipleship, at Liberty.

According to Coach Jeff Alder, the team was doing post-game prayer following the first game against Howard University and sharing the gospel with the opposing team.

Then, freshman Shalom stepped in and shared his testimony with the other players.

It was nothing new for Dutey, who had been doing this with his team at One7 after every game, telling the opposition about the word of Jeremiah, and sharing a testimony of their lives.

“It was a feeling in me that I couldn’t explain, that told me to go to Coach Alder and ask him if I could speak after him,” Dutey said.

Dutey hopes to pursue a career in youth ministry, using soccer as a platform to reach kids in difficult situations like he once was.

DAVIS is a sports reporter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *