I will keep you posted as the games progress – there are a lot of  fun and interesting statistics involved with this international edition of Clericus Cup. The final, by the way, will be played on Saturday, May 26.

The images shown below are from past matches.


The Italian acronym CSI has nothing to do with crime scenes and forensics experts and everything to do with sports, in particular football – or, as it is called in the States, soccer. CSI stands for Centro Sportivo Italiano – Italian Sports Center – whose initiative, the Clericus Cup, kicks off this Saturday in Rome.

Under the sponsorship of the Italian Episcopal Conference and its pastoral ministry for Sports and Leisure, CSI is promoting Clericus Cup 2018, a soccer tournament open to seminarians and priests from colleges, universities, convents and pontifical seminaries in the city and province of Rome. The first games are scheduled for February 24 in the elimination phase.

The North American College, the U.S. national seminary in Rome, has played every year in this tourney and the team, the North American Martyrs, have won several championships.

The idea for this Cup might have come from remarks made years ago by then Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, an avid soccer fan who has, even as cardinal, had announced soccer matches on Italian radio for his beloved Turin team, Juventus.

He once jokingly told Italian reporters, “I do not rule out that in the future the Vatican could form a top soccer team of the level of Inter or Roma,” – other top notch Italian teams. He added that the Holy See, for example, could form “a magnificent team” by drawing on the hundreds of Brazilian students at its pontifical universities around the world.

The Clericus Cup Rules and Regulations are posted on the CSI web site, and include information on uniforms and game dates. There is no cost but players must enrol in CSI and there may be from 14 to 20 players on a team. Each team can field 11 players. Matches will be played on Saturdays, say the Rules, and will last one hour instead of the 90 minutes for professional soccer.

In American football, there is what is known as the “Hail Mary pass,” a forward pass thrown in a moment of desperation whose chances of being caught usually range from little to nil. Will players in the Clericus Cup have a Hail Mary kick?

Let the Games begin!