What is your name and home field location?
Ciarán Porter. We practice at Saint Joseph’s University on City Avenue.
What is your connection to Ireland?
Like many of my teammates, I grew up in Ireland and emigrated to America in my early 20s.
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
We didn’t perform to our full potential last year, however, we enjoyed the experience. We aim to come back stronger and make sure we have green, white, and gold ribbons on the Unity Cup come November 11.
What was your favorite moment from last year’s tournament?
Opening night against the USA team was something special. Great atmosphere and good game to play in.
How did your team come together?
Spread the word through social media and word of mouth. We’ve had plenty of get togethers and friendly games in the lead-up to the 2017 tournament.
Can you tell us a bit about the rest of your team?
The team is made up of many that have traveled to the Philadelphia area for work or love. The rest of the squad is made up of children of Irish immigrants from the 1970s and 80s. With an age range of early 20s to the old man in the squad, Liam O’D in his early 40s, we all get on well and enjoy playing the game.
What does soccer mean to your community?
It brings everyone together to support the Irish national team and on an even smaller level to enjoy participating in games with their friends. There is also a social aspect to it, with people getting together to watch a soccer game and enjoy a nice cold pint of Guinness.
Why is soccer important to you personally?
I enjoy playing it and it’s a great way to switch off and to be in a social environment with some friends.
How has soccer made your life better?
Through soccer I have met many of my great friends, and I continue to meet new people through soccer.
Why do you think soccer is so popular around the world?
Team sports are always fun to play, and it allows many to show their competitive side through a great sport.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
With many different nationalities playing in the tournament, it shows that Philadelphia is a city that welcomes people from all over the world. Although the Unity Cup is played country against country, from these games relationships have developed and players invite players from other countries to play on their other soccer teams throughout the year.
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about Irish culture?
For Irish pubs and restaurants, in Philadelphia there are plenty. However I would recommend the Plough & the Stars (123 Chestnut Street), Tir Na nOg (1600 Arch St), Con Murphy’s (1700 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy), New Deck Tavern (3408 Sansom St), and Sláinte (3000 Market St), all great places to socialize and enjoy some great Irish food.
Culturally there are a lot of strong links to Ireland throughout the city: the Irish Memorial (100 Chestnut St), the Irish Center of Philadelphia (6815 Emlen St), statue of Commodore John Barry (501-549 Walnut St), and the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about Ireland?
It is estimated that over 80 million people of Irish descent live outside Ireland, in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, and states of the Caribbean and continental Europe. This is 14 times more than the population of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) itself! Three million of these emigrants still hold Irish nationality.
Roughly 34 million Americans reported Irish ancestry in the 2000 US Census, which makes it the second largest ethnic group after German Americans. The highest concentration of Irish Americans is in the Northeast (New York and New England).