By: Paul McDaid
Do you have a home field where you practice or play regularly?
We practice at Marple High School for this tournament; most of the guys are active players in other teams and leagues from the YSC to the CASA league.
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
The chance to represent the boys in green, of course! I was a decent U12 player, but I’ve hardly developed since, so I realized early in my adolescence. So any chance of actually representing Ireland at a World Cup or anything was non-existent! To be given this opportunity is simply too good to pass.
It’s also a unique tournament that other cities across the States should be looking at developing too. I think the standard, particularly in knockout stages, is very competitive which makes it appealing too.
What was your favorite moment from last year’s tournament?
We drew with Mexico 5-5 in a bizarre final group game that had absolutely everything — although I think we did enough to win the game and was disappointed we didn’t, I’m pretty sure the large number of attendees went home that night from South Philly really satisfied with what they had just seen. Not sure if it was bad defending or great attacking, but was quite the spectacle!
How did your team come together?
We held tryouts throughout the summer to add on players from previous Unity Cup tournaments.
Can you tell us a bit about the rest of your team?
We held an initiation night where everyone had to down a pint of Guinness in less than 10 seconds or be cut from the team. Safe to say everyone passed with ease!!!
What does soccer mean to your community?
There’s no shortage of teams to play for if guys want to get involved. Many of our guys coach kids, so it’s everywhere. It’s a beautiful game, so we’re all just happy the United States is finally realizing that too — even with no US team in the World Cup this year!
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
I think it’s a great idea to have open rosters — we have a great mix of 100% Irish and US guys with Irish ancestry, but anyone is welcome to come and try out.
What places or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about the culture of the country your team represents?
Commodore Barry Arts and Cultural Center, and look out for ‘Traci sessions’ at any Irish bar!
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your team’s country?
Leprechauns don’t actually exist. Can’t tell you the amount of times that I have to break the bad news to people!