Surge International was born from a single mission trip to Mexico with a college soccer team from Southern California, over thirty years ago. Since that time Dave Irby, founder and CEO of Surge International has helped pioneer global soccer ministry and has organized soccer ministry projects around the world.
Dave coached successfully for four seasons at Azusa Pacific University where he was twice named Coach of the Year. He was planning to be a fulltime teacher and coach at the university level, but that first mission trip kept tugging at his heart.
In 1980 He coached the Soccer Friends team on a short-term mission trip to Jordan, Israel, West Germany, Austria, and Holland. Dave says, “This trip was the ‘fleece’ for me to decide if I was to go into fulltime soccer ministry.”
In 1981, he became the first Soccer Coach for Sports Life Ministries (Tacoma, WA). In 1984, he was one of the first two original staff members for Missionary Athletes International (MAI). Following his time with MAI, Dave founded Vanguard Ministries, which is now Surge International.
Dave’s vision to have sports ministry at a higher level of soccer lead him to Salem, Oregon where he coached and managed the Cascade Surge PDL team (1997-2009) of the United Soccer League (USL). Top collegiate soccer players were invited to play for the Surge PDL team (May through July) where they also had opportunities to impact people for Christ locally, nationally and internationally. Surge teams, individual players and staff members went on short-term mission trips to Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Germany, Austria, England, Lebanon, several Africa countries and to Central Asia.
Though Surge International closed down their Cascade Surge team in 2009, Surge International Board members Likius Hafeni still oversees the after-school programs in public schools, in partnership with the local church and the Salem Leadership Foundation.
In 2007, Surge International launched its first international soccer ministry virtual-office in Vienna, Austria. In 2016, the effort shifted to Salzburg, Austria.