CORUÑA, SPAIN — When Matt Rogers walks out of the gym every morning the beautiful Coruña coastline stretches out in front of him.
“I absolutely love the city and the food has been amazing, except for the Pulpo, which is Spanish for octopus,” Rogers said. “It’s a specialty here in Coruña, but not for this American kid!”
Rogers, a former Southwest Baptist University (SBU) basketball standout, recently moved to Spain after he was offered a position on the Leyma Natura Coruña, a team in the Liga Española de Baloncesto (LEB) Gold League.
“A lot has happened in the last eight months,” he said. “Toward the end of the season with the (Texas) Legends, I asked to be released so that I could play overseas.”
As soon as he left the NBA Developmental League team, Rogers immediately took a job playing for a team in Lebanon. Unfortunately, he was only in Lebanon two days before he got injured during a game.
“First game, 13 minutes in and I was unintentionally elbowed in the forehead, which broke my left eyebrow and collapsed my left sinus cavity,” he said.
A CT scan showed that he had eight fractures, but fortunately no brain damage. He was able to come back to the United States and have full reconstructive surgery, which included four titanium plates and two screws in his eyebrow.
“It was a very crazy trip and a freak accident, but God brought me through it and placed some amazing people in my life to take care of me,” he said.
After surgery and a trip back to Missouri to celebrate his younger sister’s wedding and to enjoy some home-cooked meals for a change, Rogers got the opportunity to play in a summer league with the Indiana Pacers in Orlando: five games in five days.
“God is good,” he said. “I got a chance to play in front of all the NBA coaches and many overseas coaches and I came away with some pretty good video footage, too. It was because of that footage and some good words from my SBU coaches that my agent was able to get me the job here in Spain.”
And though he has seen many ups and downs in his basketball career, Rogers knows that God has mighty plans for his life.
“I ask that I would always be in your prayers and that you would specifically pray for my role as a Christian here in this season to be revealed to me,” he said.
For more information about Rogers’ game schedule and to watch games online visit www.feb.es.
While Rogers will spend the next seven months across the Atlantic Ocean, Chad Gillaspy, former Evangel University All-American and a member of First Baptist Church, Miller, will be heading north of the border to pursue his professional basketball career with the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC).
“The journey has been long, but I knew if I could stick with it, that an opportunity would present itself,” Gillaspy said. “I’ve just been taking things one day at a time and use every day to try to improve. Faithfulness and prayer changes things.”
Gillaspy was drafted fourth overall by the Oshawa Power before the Summerside Storm of Prince Edward Island traded to get him. He will start training camp in Canada Oct. 15, while the regular season starts Nov. 2.
“I’m excited about this chapter in my life,” he said. “I get paid to do what I love and I can’t thank God enough for that.”
For more information about Summerside games and future webcasts visit www.stormbasketball.ca.