While the goalkeeper for Costa Rica's national soccer team is being revered for leading his team's victory against Greece on Sunday, Keylor Navas is giving glory to God and credits his efforts to his strong Christian faith.
Navas helped Costa Rica secure a spot in the World Cup's quarterfinals for the first time in the team's history after knocking away a penalty kick from Greece in a move that he says was made for God, his family, teammates and country.
"I talk to God and ask Him to help me. I tell Him that everything I say and do in the game is for His glory and I ask Him to put me an angel on each side, in each post, and behind me so that everything can turn out fine," said Navas, according to Spanish news outlet Protestante Digital.
Known to be an unabashed evangelical Christian, Navas kneels on the soccer field's sidelines with arms lifted up before each game without regard for what others may say or think about him.
He also noted that his faith-based outlook derives from his favorite Bible passage found in Galatians 1:10 ("Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."), which he says has helped him become one of the most respected goalkeepers in the world.
"People can oftentimes mock me because of my belief in God and many times they insult me when I kneel to pray in many stadiums," said Navas. "If I cared what people thought of me, I would forget to embrace that passage … What God says about me is the most important thing and that passage has changed my life …"
At just 26 years old, Navas is being sought after by international soccer teams Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Arsenal for his unparalleled skills on the field. However, despite his success, Navas says he never forgets to thank God for being at the current height of his career and says he sees his job as an opportunity that he never wants to take for granted.
"God has given me health and a great job that I shouldn't take advantage of. I'm not going to sit on the couch in my house and expect everything to come, I know that I must continue to work hard …," said Navas.
In addition to playing soccer, Navas, who is married with a daughter, spends time volunteering for Christian organizations and notes that it is important for him to create a personal balance between his family, church and career.
Costa Rica will play against The Netherlands in the quarterfinals Saturday, July 5 at 4 p.m. ET.