From World Soccer Star to Life-Changing Coach and Evangelist


New book by LU Press shares the amazing life of former Scottish international, Leeds United and Liberty University soccer legend William Bell.

LYNCHBURG, Va. (July 31, 2014) – “The Light at the End of the Tunnel” — a new book written by William Bell and published by Liberty University Press — tells the unlikely story of how a former Scottish and Leeds United soccer star turned his life around by giving it away to others.

Bell, widely considered one of Scotland’s greatest soccer players ever, as well as the heart and soul of the best Leeds United generation of footballers, shares his remarkable journey in an autobiography told to journalist and author Ron Starner.

Historians have already judged Bell as one of the greatest leaders and fiercest competitors ever to suit up in the white uniform of storied Leeds United; now readers will have the opportunity to understand what drove Bell to leave the millionaire lifestyle of British soccer behind and give his life to a ministry based on faith and service.

His American story begins in a small chapel in a village in Ohio farm country. It ends in founding Within the Walls and going back to England to help young offenders in British prisons find hope and learn the meaning of life. In between is a 20-year coaching stint at Lynchburg, Virginia’s Liberty University, the world’s largest evangelical institution of higher learning.

From Elton John and Peter Frampton to Jerry Falwell and Bruce Arena, Bell’s incredible journey intersects with many people who changed the world. In writing and publishing his autobiography, Bell hopes that people both in and out of the sport of soccer will see that a life’s value is not to be measured by its popularity and success, but by how many people one encourages along the way.

Endorsed by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. and Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, “The Light At the End of the Tunnel” is a must read for anyone who thinks that character counts for more than championships.

About William Bell: Born and raised in Scotland, Bell made his mark at the highest level of professional soccer in Scotland and England in the 1960s and ’70s. He played for Scotland against Pele and Brazil. He starred for Leeds United as a teammate of Sir Jack Charlton and Bobby Collins. He coached Birmingham City, Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion. Following his 20-year professional career in Great Britain, he accepted the challenge of building a soccer program at Liberty University. For two decades, he led the Liberty Flames to state and national prominence, molding a number of young men into professional soccer players, including some who would suit up for their respective national teams. In September 2011, Bell was inducted into the prestigious Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame, joining such notable sports figures as Sid Bream, Al Worthington and Kelvin Edwards. Bell and his wife Mary also founded the Within the Walls prison ministry in 1993 and spent much of the next two decades spreading the gospel of the hope of Jesus Christ to young inmates behind bars throughout England. Today, the Bells reside in Bluffton, S.C., near Hilton Head.

About Ron Starner: A 1986 graduate of Liberty University, Starner is the executive vice president of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection Magazine in Atlanta, Ga. He also serves as the executive director of the Foreign Direct Investment Association and editor of the FDI Report, the Janus Reporter and the Trust Belt newsletter. He is the author of “The 12 Standards of Successful Leaders,” published in 2011, which profiles 10 notable leaders including Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church. A four-year soccer letterman at Liberty, Starner played for one of Bell’s most successful teams —s the 1985 squad that was ranked as high as No. 8 in the country in NCAA Division II. Starner was a GTE Academic All-American in soccer at Liberty and All-Virginia Intercollegiate Soccer Association, registering three goals and six assists as a left defender. He now writes regularly for Site Selection, an international business magazine with a circulation of more than 48,000 worldwide.