At first glance this looks like the average professional soccer match. But it’s the men in jerseys that aren’t exactly the average athletes. These guys usually practice on a different turf. They’re priests.
Welcome to the Clericus Cup, an annual soccer tournament held in Rome, Italy where 380 priests and seminarians duke it out on the field in a series of matches from February to May.
The 16 teams in the tournament are actually 16 seminaries schools in Rome. The priests and students come from all over the world. Most of the participants in this years inaugural game are from Latin America.
Juan Jose Muñoz
Mater Ecclesiae Seminary, Rome
I was a bit pressured. It’s my first time playing in the Clericus Cup. There’s a lot of confidence among the teammates, so we were able to coordinate the game well. A bit pressured when the tied us, but we were able to come back with those two goals that our teammate scored.
These may be men of faith outside the field but it was their competitive spirit that was on display all game long.
They challenged calls, used fancy footwork, and played a bit rough. They even had the crowd scene going.
At the end of the day, however, the players say its not the scoreboard that matters but the camaraderie and sense of spirituality that sports can bring to people.
Even some on the losing team value the game on a different level.
Colegio Brasiliano E Orionino, Rome
Usually the life of a priest is quite sedentary. So I think this was a very interesting proposal for priests, not only here in Rome but in other parts of the world, too. We are quick to think about our intellectual and spiritual selves. But we know that a body also needs its space.
Perhaps the only difference between this and regular soccer matches; the team huddle. This one included both.