About Eternity Sports

Our mission at Eternity Sports is to connect and grow Churches and Christian athletes/coaches—and inspire them to impact their game for eternity! We strive to encourage, inspire and educate those who desire to implement their faith into sports and glorify God in their game. By providing an avenue to connect with one another, helpful resources, podcasts, leadership, and mentors, we can transform the culture in sports…for eternity!

Eternity Sports is a non-profit 401c3.

Our History

Eternity Sports’ roots began with Sports Outreach Los Angeles (SOLA), which was founded in 1992 by Sports Outreach America to develop church-led outreach events in Los Angeles. Steve Quatro was hired to lead the ministry and did so for 26 years. SOLA started with large events and later added hosting church sports conferences. Ultimately SOLA’s mission was to help churches build sports and recreation activities as well as to encourage, equip, and empower them to use sports as a bridge to share the Good News of Jesus.

In 2018, the SOLA Board boldly approved changes to significantly expand SOLA’s impact and scope. Josh Merrill, a SOLA board member at the time, was hired to lead this expansion—under the new name “Eternity Sports.” Three years prior, God had planted a seed in Josh’s heart to launch a movement that would help change the culture of sports by equipping churches to utilize sports for outreach and by inspiring Christian athletes and coaches to boldly play for God’s glory. With Steve’s enthusiastic support, a joyful and fruitful transition took place.

 

Josh had already been at work developing a website and a plan to bring Christian athletes and coaches together. Although the vehicle has changed from the SOLA years, its mission lives in the heart of this nonprofit.  Eternity Sports will continue to support ministry leaders, athletes, and coaches who love Jesus and desire to use their platform to shine and connect others to His light.

Be sure to join the challenge to stay updated on all of our exciting developments and efforts to bring God glory through our game!

Our Team

Josh Merrill

Executive Director

After more than a decade of launching, growing, and running a church sports program in Los Angeles, CA, Josh Merrill felt it was time to respond to a burden God had placed on his heart to bring together Christian athletes, coaches, and recreational ministries to transform the culture of sports for God’s glory. This movement is now called “Eternity Sports.”

Josh is an athlete at heart who has played just about every sport under the sun, and he understands the balance for Christians between the competitive aspect of sports and maintaining one’s witness for Christ—on and off the court.

“During my overseas career, God led me to understand that the athletic gifts I had been given should be used for His kingdom and glory, and not my own. Eternity is forever, my game is only temporary”

Josh was born and raised in San Diego where sports were always his passion. He played football, basketball, and baseball in high school, earning California’s three sport “Athlete of the Year” his senior year. Josh was heavily recruited within every college conference as a quarterback in football, but ultimately chose to play baseball and basketball his freshman year of college at Pepperdine University. He transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara his sophomore year where he finished out his Division 1 basketball carrier. Josh went on to play basketball professionally overseas in Portugal, Argentina, and Australia for six years. It was during this time that Josh fully surrendered his life to the Lord.

“All around us we see sports consume us as a culture and it’s time we as believers join together and take back the playing field.”

In 2006, God moved Josh into the role of sports director at Shepherd Church in Los Angeles, CA, where he continues to lead today. A few years later, he obtained his Masters in Ministry at Hope International University and was ordained as the sports pastor at Shepherd Church. Currently, the ministry of Shepherd Sports has had more then 35,000 participants and 5,000 volunteers come through its doors since ‘06.

“There is no greater way to understand the need of churches than to stay connected at the local level where lives can be impacted for eternity”.

Through Eternity Sports, Josh’s goal is to shift the perspective from one’s self to the greater work of God’s Kingdom. His mission is to help believers in Christ find ways to implement their faith into their game and to help those who are running Christian sports programs to grow their ministry.

Neal Gossett

Director of Sports Ministry Relations 

After graduating from college and starting in business, Neal Gossett quickly felt the nudge towards ministry. He had always had a passion for sports, and when his church had an opening in its sports ministry department, he applied and received an opportunity to begin his career.

Neal worked in sports ministry for more than 20 years at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. He then took on various leadership roles at Southeast. In October 2023, Neal and his family began a new adventure as he transitioned to an Executive Pastor of Development role at New Day Christian Church in Port Charlotte, FL.

Neal is still very passionate about sports today, and he loves the way it reaches all segments of people all over the world. In early 2024, he joined the team at Eternity Sports, helping with ministry connections.

He is married to his wife, Kim, and they have three kids: Carter (and daughter-in-law, Alyssa), Renee (and son-in-law, Kyle), and Brady. Neal is an avid University of Kentucky fan and a diehard Chicago Cubs fan!

 

Naomi Porter

Ministry Coordinator

Naomi Porter serves as Eternity Sports’ Ministry Coordinator and enjoys connecting and engaging with the Eternity Sports community through social media, email marketing, and getting athletes, coaches, sports ministries alike to “Join the Challenge” and also be a part of our growing community through the Playing For Eternity docuseries.

After graduating from Grand Canyon University with a degree in Biblical Studies in 2023, Naomi Porter soon moved to a small town in Oklahoma and has loved the small town atmosphere ever since.  In October 2023, Naomi and her husband, Enoch, whom she met at university, embarked on a new adventure and got married in their beloved small town in a beautiful backyard wedding. Naomi and her husband have been happily married and are huge enthusiasts of movies, coffee, and love for Jesus.

Naomi remains deeply passionate about her ministry work today and the work she gets to do by connecting with people all over. She loves the way it reaches people all over the world and is so blessed to be a part of the Eternity Sports Team.

 

Steve Quatro

Board Member & Donor Support

Steve serves on the board of Eternity Sports and is the founding director of SOLA. His passion for sports and Jesus came together in 1992 when God led him to leave a 14-year career in real estate and become the founding director of Sports Outreach LA (SOLA). SOLA was birthed out of the vision of Sports Outreach America—led by former Dallas Maverick, Ralph Drollinger—to build local networks of churches that would piggyback on the attraction of sports and sporting events. The mission of SOLA was to encourage and empower local church leaders to use sports to share the Good News of Jesus. “To see church members outside the church walls, using the bridge of sports, to reach out to their neighbors, energized me,” Steve recalled.

Steve grew up in Southern California in a loving home where Christ was honored and loved. However, it wasn’t until his sophomore year at Chatsworth High School that Steve placed his faith in Jesus for salvation. Steve played baseball and received his bachelor’s degree at Biola University. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Tina, and is blessed with three kids and eight grandkids. Steve’s current sport of choice is racquetball in which he competes on the state and national level (in his age group).

“I’m so excited to be serving with Josh to extend the ‘Playing for Eternity Challenge’ across America and the world, in order to bring glory to God. How great it will be to see the landscape of sports change as followers of Christ ‘Play for Eternity’ and draw others to do the same.”