NAC Martyrs head to semifinals

Pontifical North American College seminarian John Gibson of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee competes in the Clericus Cup in a 2010 game against the Pontifical College of St. Paul in Rome. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).

VATICAN CITY — With help from an Australian teammate, the Pontifical North American College is heading to the Clericus Cup semifinals April 28.  This will be the NAC Martyrs’ fourth consecutive semifinal play since the soccer series for seminarians first kicked off in 2007.

The Martyrs beat the Pontifical Urban College 4-2 on Saturday making it a great way for the men to celebrate the April 21st birthday of the NAC’s rector Msgr. James Checchio!

The NAC houses a number of Australian seminarians since “the men down under” don’t have a pontifical college of their own. Lewi Barakat of the Archdiocese of Sydney netted two goals in the game’s final half, pulling the NAC out of an excruciating 2-2 tie.

Deacon David Santos of the Archdiocese of Newark and John Gibson of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee nabbed the team’s two other goals.

The Martyrs and its superhero fan base are once again hoping to come home with the Clericus Cup championship title, which has eluded them for the past five years. Their best showing came in 2010 when they took second place overall and won an award for “Best Fans.”

Super heroes such as Batman, Spider-Man and Wolverine turn out for every game, waving American flags and rallying the fans. Uncle Sam and a fluffy yellow chicken  made special appearances in the stands this year.

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