With a ban on fans’ decibel levels now in place, the North American College has slipped to a third-place tie in the rankings in Rome’s Clericus Cup soccer tournament.
Their 1-0 loss on Saturday to last year’s champs and soccer powerhouse, Redemptoris Mater, gives the NAC Martyrs six points in their division standings, tied with the Benedictine players of Rome’s St. Anselmo College.
“We had a tough time with injuries already this year,” said the team’s trainer/coach/star/co-captain Daniel O’Mullane, from Paterson, N.J. “But I’m confident that when we get our men back on the field, we have some time to gel, we’re going to be a force to reckon with,” he said in an informal press release yesterday.
With two wins and two losses under their belts, the NAC Martyrs have three more games to hold on tight if they’re to make it to the April quarterfinals. They’re up next against the Latin American College Feb. 9.
O’Mullane praised his team’s strong defense, which kept Redemptoris Mater – nicknamed Red Mat – from inflicting too much damage. Unfortunately in the first half, the Red Mat goalie punched O’Mullane’s free kick right over the crossbar and away from the net.
Clericus Cup organizers said they had to remind fans to keep their cheering down over the weekend because of neighbors’ complaints that the priestly soccer matches were a “disturbance of the peace.” (By the way, here’s a great photo from the Italian Sports Center, the Catholic association that organizes the soccer series, of a Redemptoris Mater fan taken during Saturday’s game against the NAC showing his silent protest of the recent fan-noise ban.)
When fans of the Pontifical Urbanian University (once famed for blasting out reggae music during games) got shushed for cheering, they resorted to praying the Hail Mary out loud and in Latin — sure they wouldn’t get in trouble for reciting the rosary.