Han Duan – A Striker’s Faith


“The Bible is filled with wisdom and joy.”Han Duan

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007 will be held in China from 10 to 30 September at five hosting cities, namely, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjing and Wuhan. FIFA.com has named China’s outstanding National soccer team striker, Han Duan, as one of the players to watch out for in the coming matches. Xinhuanet in July 2007 described her as “unreplaceable”. She has just scored 10 goals in 4 games for China during the recent 2007 Four-Nations Women’s Tournament. There are a few young and vibrant Christians in the China Women’s National Soccer Team. They are passionate about God, the Bible and, not surprisingly, soccer games!

Han Duan was born in the northeastern part of China, Dalian City, Liaoning Province, on the day of the Chinese Dumpling Festival known as “Duan Wu Jie”. Hence, her given name “Duan” is to remember her birth on this special day. Han Duan’s mother is a Christian. As a young child, she would follow her mum to church on Sundays. The beautiful hymns sung on Sunday worship had accompanied Han Duan through out her childhood. Over the years, reading the bible and praying have become her way of life. At 17 years old, Han Duan made a personal decision to profess her faith and was baptized.
When Han Duan was a kid, the training she received was in swimming. Her soccer career did not start until she was 8 years old. She performed well and was selected for the Dalian City Soccer Team at the age of 12. At 15, she was given a place in China’s Youth National Soccer team. At 17, the year when she was baptized, she gained entry into the prestigious China Women’s National Soccer team. At her first game, the young Han Duan became a sensation. She broke through the defenses of the US team, scored a goal for China and sent her team straight on the road to victory. She has matured and blossomed in the last seven years and has proven herself to be a crucial player for the National team. In the coming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007, many are pinning their hopes on her. However, Han Duan is realistic. She feels that in real life, she has more disappointments than successes, more tears than joy, more sorrow than sweetness. But through all of these, God has His magnificent plans.”
Han Duan often receives Press interviews and she is open to sharing her personal Christian journey with reporters.

“I am a Christian. This is a very sacred matter. The Christian faith has influenced me greatly. No matter where I go, I will bring my Bible along. I love to read the Bible because there are important lessons to be learnt each day. There are people who think that the Bible is boring to read. On the contrary, I find that the Bible is filled with wisdom and joy, instructing me on how to live life meaningfully, especially on character building and spiritual cleansing. Every time I read the Bible, my heart finds peace. I pray every day and I can feel that God is constantly helping me. When the National team plays, I would also pray for every match we compete in. I hope that more people would pray along with me because it is different when we pray. I sense the empowerment and the team spirit in action. There are many people who have commented on my good attitude on the field. I attribute this to my Christian faith. God has His purposes for many things in my life. He has already told us not to worry about tomorrow.”

“God has given me many testimonies to share about His goodness. In both 2003 and 2004 soccer seasons, by His grace, I won the Best Striker Awards. In 2006, prior to the Four-Nations Tournament, I suffered a bad injury. The doctor said that I would have to miss the match and rest for a month to recover. Many brothers and sisters-in-Christ prayed for me, I was healed in 10 days. The most amazing thing was, even though I missed out on the intensive training, I still managed to score a goal. God just loves me very much. He is always there to help me. His grace is sufficient for me.”

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007 will soon open in China. Han Duan hopes that more people would take an interest in the China Women’s National Soccer Team, pray for them and encourage them. She also hopes that more friends would read the Bible and come to know Jesus.

Written and testimony translated by:
Ms YEO Tan Tan, Program Manager
United Bible Societies, China Partnership

(Special Thanks to Ms Han Duan for permission to use her photographs.)