My name is Clay Dimick. I am a 25 year old Catholic, and also a professional soccer player. I currently play for Charlotte, and am in my second year as a pro. In my faith life, I converted to Catholicism in 2018, and have been on fire for the Faith ever since. I am looking to spread my journey to the church to help other individuals see the truth and beauty the Catholic Faith holds.
On the more important side of life, the Faith side. Here is a long story that I recently wrote, of my journey to Catholicism.
I was adopted from Birth to two awesome parents. They are Methodist, and wonderful Christians. They are not Catholic so I was not familiar with the Faith. With that being said before I left for college I grew up with a certain view of the Catholic Church, that could be described as old, boring, and robotic. I was clueless.
A few division 1 schools offered me scholarships, and so did a small Catholic division 2 school, Belmont Abbey. After my visit to Belmont Abbey, I felt at home there and could see myself excelling on the field, which was the reason I wanted to go there. When I met the coach I could tell he genuinely cared for his players and wanted the best for them and to develop them into quality Men.
I attended the Abbey from 2013-2017 earning all conference recognition, and being a two year team captain. But, all of this was nothing in comparison to the relationship I made with my coaches and teammates. In particular my head coach John Keating. While I was there I could see from the way he lived his life that something about His faith, and His beliefs was true, beautiful, and the fullness of the faith. I also saw the type of coach, leader, Husband, and father He was and I wanted whatever He had!
As I became a Junior and Senior, I began to spend more time with my coach but also with his family, who are all devout Catholics including His amazing wife Toni. Coach Keating became my role model, and mentor. Through this time I started attending Mass on Sundays and felt so at peace when I was there, I wanted more. One day when the family and I went fishing on the way home their youngest, Savannah asked why don't I become Catholic? To their surprise I responded "I am actually thinking and praying about it." I had been praying for a couple of weeks for the Lord to set a fire in my soul, create passion and love for Him that I have never experienced. A few nights later I was over at their house, Coach and I were talking and I simply asked what the difference is between Catholicism and the Baptists or Methodists. His first response was on the Eucharist, and I was mind blown. I asked many many questions that night on the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit was answering though him, I heard every word Coach was saying loud and clear. I was intrigued and curious like never before. I was set to drive home to Atlanta the next day to visit my parents, and Coach gave me a Scott Hahn "The Fourth Cup" CD to listen to on the way home. I began listening and realized the CD was all about the beauty and truth of the eucharist. Scott Hahn was saying everything I longed to hear and learn. When he began speaking about the Gospel John 6 I had the chills, and had to pull over to write everything down. Scott was explaining everything from the Last Supper to receiving Jesus body blood soul and divinity in Mass. I did not want to keep waiting and missing out on Jesus, and receiving His fullness, I knew this was where I was being called. I immediately called my coach and told Him I want to be Catholic, and I have never been so sure about anything in my life. My coach and I began having longer more in depth discussions about the Mass, Saints, Confession, and the other beautiful pieces of the Church. The decision was made during Holy Week 2018, to fully start the process of entering the Church. My Coach and I approached the priests at St. Micheals parish I North Carolina, about me joining the Church but not having to wait until next easter. Fr. Buettner was unbelievable welcoming and was all for it and very excited. Father gave me a book to read on the Mass, and all the RCIA classes in podcast form so I could listen to them whenever and wherever even when I had an away game. I was set to be confirmed and receive my First Holy Communion on Corpus Christi, June 3rd 2018. Which was God at work again because the Eucharist is what attracted me first to the Faith. Leading up to Corpus Christi I listened and studied all the RCIA classes, listened to many Scott Hahn and Edward Sri CDs, read the book on the Mass, had thousands of conversations with Coach Keating, and attended Mass on Sundays and throughout the week when I could. I also read an amazing novel called " A Philadelphia Catholic in King James Court" given to me by Coach Keating. This book along with everything else step by step taught my so many beautifully true pieces of the Church that I had been missing out on my whole life. After my First confession, which was amazing, I was beyond ready for June 3rd. Coach Keating, as expected was my Sponsor on this special day, and I was in awe of the peace, joy, and closeness I felt with God on Corpus Christi.
To this day my love and desire to learn continues to grow in the Church. I signed a professional soccer contract this year with the Charlotte Independence. Being able to stay in Charlotte, around my Church community and family in the Keating's while doing what I love for a living is a huge blessing. I also just signed a new deal for 2020. This will allow me to work with the youth groups in my Home parish, St. Micheals which I am beyond excited. I have come to see the beauty, truth, and community in the Church. I Could never imagine my life as a non Catholic now, I am so thankful.