Rome, Italy, May 14, 2012 / 12:16 pm
Seminarians from the Pontifical North American College in Rome have won the clerical equivalent of soccer’s World Cup for the first time ever.
“We are very happy. We did everything we could, and by the grace of God we got to this final game and we were able to play well,” said seminarian and team captain Nick Nelson in a May 12 interview with CNA, just moments after lifting the 2012 Clericus Cup.
The U.S. team beat the undefeated (3-0) Pontifical Gregorian University team thanks to one goal from Scottie Gratton and two from John Gibson.
“I thought we played really well,” Gibson said, right after the final whistle was blown. “We started out a little bit flustered with the nerves a bits. But we calmed down, we played our game, we just played simple and smart football. We worked really hard, so I think we played well.”
Now in its sixth year, the Clericus Cup in the annual soccer tournament for the pontifical seminaries and universities in Rome. The United States team goes by the name of the North American Martyrs. Despite two runner-up finishes in previous years, the Martyrs had never before won the title – until Saturday.
“We have trained twice a week, first semester and second semester,” said Nelson, who was a member of the runner-up squad in 2010.
“So, the guys give a lot and sacrifice a lot for the team, in order to get this far. We are definitely very grateful to God and proud of what we were able to do.”