“We stood on the bridge on the Nile River as the civil war was ending in Uganda, the bridge where Idi Amin’s soldiers shot and killed so many…”
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 full time 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 full time 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 Int’l is still involved in the local community through church partnerships, school assemblies, youth soccer projects and a coaching partnership with the United SA youth soccer.
In 2007, Surge International opened its first international soccer ministry office in Vienna, Austria. The Soccer ministry in Vienna is done under the name of Vienna Surge and is currently directed by Nate Brewer. Vienna Surge has several different “projects” that are underway – SOSsoccer (Soccer relief for various countries), GPI (Global Player Initiative – short term soccer missionaries live in Vienna and serve with Vienna Surge).