A Dream Fulfilled
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These words, spoken by the Holy Spirit, were indelibly impressed upon the mind of Andreas Moeller (Evangel '19) in a dream after his freshman year at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. This fall, thanks to a year of eligibility remaining from not playing his freshman year, the 26-year-old Krause Hall residence director (RD) and father of two will don the maroon and white to suit up with EU Valor for one final season.
“Growing up, I loved football, and I wanted to go as far with it as I could, but during the first game of my senior year, I had a severe high right ankle sprain,” Moeller said. “I remember getting mad at God, and that experience caused me to reevaluate where my heart was. I decided I was going to be done with sports after high school, and at Evangel, I would focus on my relationship with God and academics.”
Then came the dream. In response to the invitation of the Lord, Moeller walked onto the EU football team as a sophomore. Two years later, in 2018, the defensive tackle was selected as a unanimous first team All-American, named the Heart of America Conference Defensive Player of the Year, was one of 12 nominees for the NAIA National Player of the Year, and set EU’s still-unbeaten season tackle-for-loss record (27.5).
Moeller’s senior season would have been a rewarding conclusion to his career and a testament to God’s faithfulness. However, within a year of Moeller’s graduation, the dreams started again.
“Even though I had another year of eligibility, I was grateful and content to be done and allow football to fade from my heart,” Moeller said. “But the Lord started giving me dreams in the night about playing football again. It’s hard for me to overstate the impact my dreams have on my life, as well as the guidance, breakthrough, and revelation God has brought through them.”
In the subsequent years, how Moeller would return to football was hazy at best. He considered playing for other universities or even trying to go professional, once attending an informal combine run by a former National Football League player and scout. But all of these doors seemed to close.
“I’ve heard it said that faith is stewarding the clarity you have in the middle of mystery,” Moeller explained. “That perfectly sums up my approach to football. There has been so much mystery, and God has given me elements of clarity, and then I have to respond by saying, ‘God, I don’t know how any of this makes sense, but I’m going to be obedient and steward the clarity I do have.’”
In May 2021, Moeller, his wife Monica, and their two children moved into Krause Hall, a men’s dorm on Evangel’s campus, where Moeller began his tenure as RD during the fall 2021 semester. He enjoyed the mentorship opportunities the role provided and worked hard to foster a sense of community within the hall. However, he couldn’t shake the feeling that his football days were not yet over.
“In February of this year, God led me to talk to Coach [Chuck] Hepola about playing football for Evangel again. And just like that, He showed me an open door,” Moeller said.
Monica had already approved of Moeller’s return to football, but following his meeting with Hepola, Moeller knew he needed to present the idea to his bosses and fellow residence directors.
“I want all the other people I’m working with to be on board, and I want to be a good teammate everywhere,” Moeller said. “After several discussions, nobody felt like there would be too much dissonance between being an RD and being a football player. They were all encouraging and are curious about what the synergy between the two will look like.”
Though many things about his return to the field are unorthodox, Moeller believes that his time away from football, including his two years as an RD, are vital to his function on the team.
“We have a really young football team this year, and I think it’s a great time for me to rejoin,” Moeller said. “I don’t feel that God wants me to pursue a formal leadership position on the team, in part because I already have a position of leadership on campus. I believe that I am supposed to be an informal source of guidance and influence.”
As he prepares to suit up with EU Valor in August, Moeller’s return is particularly special because his children will be able to watch him play for the first time.
“It’s cool for my kids to be a part of my football journey. That’s one of the things my wife is most excited about, and let me state for the record that I could not do this without Monica; she is so supportive of this endeavor,” he said. “I don’t think she ever doubted I would put the pads back on someday.”
The return is not without its physical and relational challenges, but Moeller’s age and status as a university employee and father give him an additional visibility amongst his teammates.
“We’re in early training, and some of the guys just out of high school look at me and are a bit amazed. They call me ‘Old Head,’” Moeller said, laughing.
While Moeller will spend the fall semester regularly switching between his many roles, he is working to remain consistent through the changes.
“Whether I’m a husband, father, residence director, or teammate, for the most part, my mindset doesn’t change,” he said. “My mindset is always, ‘What does it look like to follow Jesus in this moment?’ I don’t feel like I’m changing hats; I have one hat, which is doing my best to discern the voice of the Lord as I walk in alignment with the Holy Spirit and obey the Father.”
Moeller has spent 13 years, half of his lifetime, playing tackle football. Though he hopes to continue the sport after this fall, he is content to give his career on the field to the Lord.
“At the end of this season, I just want to know that I walked with God in it all, and I did my best and enjoyed myself. I trust Him whether or not the football arc of my life ends,” Moeller said. “Regardless, I just want to hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”
With this heart of obedience and faithfulness to God, Moeller will put on his pads, lace up his cleats, and strap on his helmet, perhaps for the last time. “Old Head” though he may be, Moeller’s final season with EU Valor will no doubt be an exciting and unique experience for fans of Evangel football.