Abbey Alum Scores For MiraVia In Charlotte Independence Home Opener

Abbey Alum Scores For MiraVia In Charlotte Independence Home Opener
March 22, 2024

More Than Just For Kicks

Abbey Alum Scores For MiraVia In Charlotte Independence Home Opener

By SueAnn Howell

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Scoring a thrilling goal late in the team’s home opener March 16 was more than just for kicks for Clay Dimick, BAC ’16, a Catholic convert and professional soccer player on the Charlotte Independence roster.

Dimick, team captain, took to the field at Memorial Stadium sporting cleats specially designed to showcase MiraVia, a cause dear to his heart, as part of the “Cleats for a Cause” initiative. This local non-profit provides a safe haven for pregnant college students on Belmont Abbey’s campus and is a source of hope for moms in the community.

1 Clay Dimick cleats VS KNX 3 16 Luke Hunter
Clay Dimick, captain for the Charlotte Independence professional men’s soccer team,
donned specially designed cleats to promote MiraVia at the team’s home opener March
Photo by Luke Hunter

Dimick, who was adopted, said, “My birth mom was also a college student when she gave birth to me, and seeing MiraVia bless so many mothers and children in such a similar situation was truly special.”

Designed by artist Jaylin Roman, Dimick’s MiraVia cleats shone under the bright stadium lights, showcasing vibrant shades of Marian blue, MiraVia’s logo with an eight-pointed gold star, and the words, “A Miraculous Way For Moms,” giving a nod to MiraVia’s name which means “Miraculous Way” in Latin.

An Alum of MiraVia’s Home Turf

Dimick attended Belmont Abbey College from 2013-’16, when MiraVia’s residence was new. He led the men’s soccer team in goals scored in 2014-’15 and was named team captain in 2015.

He met several MiraVia moms in his time at the Abbey, including Grace Mitchell, one of MiraVia’s first moms to graduate from the college residence program who now works at the residence, mentoring current student moms.

“When we met, he shared a little about his story of being adopted and how beautiful it was that I had chosen life for my son. He even got a little emotional,” Mitchell recalled.

They ended up becoming close friends over the years. Mitchell is now married, and Dimick is married with two sons, and he and his wife are Mitchell’s youngest child’s godparents.

5 Grace Mitchell Clay Dimick Story SueAnn Howell pic
Grace Mitchell, her husband, Joseph, and their youngest child, Ava, cheer on their
friend Clay Dimick in the Charlotte Independence home opener March 16.
Photo by SueAnn Howell

Dimick is encouraged by the way the Benedictine monks of Belmont Abbey and the college community have responded to the student moms who, over the years, have hailed from nine different states and 12 colleges.

“I think the way Abbot Placid Solari, the monastic community, and the Abbey family welcomes the young mothers at MiraVia is an example of Christ’s love exemplified. The way the whole community rallies around these brave and wonderful mothers is very encouraging,” he said.

Abbot Solari, Belmont Abbey College chancellor, expressed similar sentiments saying when the College Residence celebrated it’s 10-year anniversary, saying, “I am very happy with the outreach of our monastery and college communities in supporting MiraVia. A commitment to the sanctity of human life needs to include effective programs to meet the needs of vulnerable women facing unplanned pregnancies. This is especially the case with young college women.”

A Conversion of Heart

Dimick admits that during his time in college, he was focused on soccer and enjoying college life. “I was not Catholic at the time; in fact, I was not even sure what the Catholic Church was or believed in. During my time at the Abbey, I came to know Jesus and His Church on a deeper level,” he said.

He had such a conversion of heart that just after graduating, he entered the Catholic Church. “I could not be more grateful for the truth being revealed to me,” he said. “Since becoming Catholic I seek to glorify God in all things – my marriage, with my two sons, my professional soccer career – and everything else.”

Dr. Bill Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College, said, “Clay Dimick is a champion in body, mind, and soul! His education, and especially his formation, at Belmont Abbey College, helped him to become the man and athlete of virtue that he is today.”

“The remarkable talent, sacrifice, and fidelity of John Keating, our head men’s soccer coach was a major reason Clay excelled on and off the field of play. John talked the talk and walked the walk as a devout Catholic husband, father, and coach which inspired Clay to look where John was looking, at Jesus Christ,” Dr Thierfelder said.

“Clay’s conversion to Catholicism was due to God’s grace and mercy which placed John Keating in his life, and I am counting on Clay to pay it forward!” he said.

One Shining Moment

Debbie Capen, executive director of MiraVia, was at the home opener March 16 with Mitchell, staff and friends of the non-profit, as well as members of the Belmont Abbey College community, cheering Dimick on.

“All of us at MiraVia were deeply moved by Clay’s generous support of MiraVia,” Capen said. “Not only is he sharing this mission with others, but now the women we serve will feel supported and encouraged in a whole new way when they see him playing for each of them.”

“When he scored the goal, it definitely felt like a ‘God smile,’” Mitchell said. “He gifted Clay, and Clay has made an active effort to give back to his Catholic community and it was just a beautiful thing to experience his big goal. MiraVia was such a gift to me, and it made me emotional seeing him score while wearing cleats that support a cause so near and dear to my heart,” she added.

3 Clay Dimick praying on field VS KNX 3 16 Luke Hunter
Clay Dimick, Catholic convert, drops to his knees in prayer following his miraculous,
late-in-the match goal at the team’s home opener March 16.
Photo by Luke Hunter

“To wear this pair of cleats dedicated to MiraVia is a unique chance to glorify God, and bring light to a special organization,” Dimick said. “It is important for me to use the platform God has blessed me with to glorify God, and also use it as an opportunity to support organizations that I truly believe in. I am truly honored and humbled to be able to represent MiraVia and everything they are doing.”

Play A Part In MiraVia’s Mission

Know a pregnant college student?  MiraVia is currently accepting applications from pregnant college students interested in the two-year program. More information on the College Residence and Outreach Programs, including volunteer opportunities and gently used baby items accepted, is available on the MiraVia website at

SueAnn Howell serves as the communications director of MiraVia in Charlotte, NC.