Who knew that there was a soccer cup for pontifical seminaries and universities?  And who knew that the U.S. team is in the hunt to win it this year?

Rome’s Pontifical North American College is only two wins away from capturing the clerical equivalent of soccer’s World Cup for the first time ever.

“There is nothing better than a bunch of guys getting together, trying to be better at something and, I think, the soccer field is a great outlet for that,” said seminarian and striker John Gibson.

The player made his remarks to CNA following his side’s 4-2 victory over the Pontifical Urbanianum University in the quarter-finals of the Clericus Cup, Saturday April 21. The semi-finals now take place this Saturday April 28.

Now into its sixth year, the Clericus Cup in an annual soccer tournament for the pontifical seminaries and universities in Rome. Matches take place on the Knights of Columbus playing fields behind the Vatican and in the shadow of the dome of St. Peters basilica.

But that’s not all – the U.S. team goes by a name that sets every historickal geekery synapse in ol’ Robbo’s brain a’flickering:

The United States team goes by the name of the North American Martyrs and – patriotically – the uniform is red, white and blue. Despite two runner-up positions in previous years, the Martyrs have yet to lift the Clericus Cup.

I confess that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in soccer in any of its manifestations.  But I’m glad to know about this.  Go Martyrs!

A glass of wine with the Headline Bistro.