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On what otherwise might be considered as just another Dublin day, the Siena Heights University Saints Women’s Soccer team and the St. James Gate/Lord Celtic Gaels gathered on the Trinity College Iveagh Grounds natural turf field for a day of sport, camaraderie and Football. The purpose of their time together was to share some hours of athletic action, to build personal friendships among the players and coaches from the Irish and American teams, and to allow the squads to demonstrate and improve their developing talents of sport. Football Soccer was their common sport of expertise, until that day. None of the Siena Heights players had ever kicked or even touched a Gaelic Football nor a Hurley. Likewise, none of the Celtic Gaels young athletes had ever thrown or caught an American Football, but all had a solid level of expertise of Football Soccer. June 22, 2024 provided a humble yet satisfying moment in “Football” history when the 3 forms of competition-Gaelic, Soccer and American, were exhibited, taught and demonstrated for what remains the purpose of sport at its purest form. This was 7 hours of outdoor physical enjoyment, of teamwork and individual skills, of shared knowledge and experience where youthful athletes were able to run and laugh, to jump and be agile, to stumble and fall, to win and to lose without any note of anger or bitterness. Rather, they competed under the watchful tutelage of caring adults and with a sweet, honest sense that the physical skills and mental adjustments required by “Football” are pure. These are also able to be developed and enjoyed with athletes of another culture, from another continent, persons of the same belief that physical exertion coupled with mental acuity and emotional motivation is so very good for the body, mind, soul, culture. 

In this way, on that Saturday in Dublin, Ireland a purity of sport through three distinct styles of “Football” was played and enjoyed on legendary albeit basic college-owned grounds. “Football”, much the same as it is  played globally by millions every week, was enjoyed and demonstrated to be indeed beneficial for the body, mind and spirit of those who participate, those who mentor and coach, and for those who  watch and cheer and enjoy athletes and athleticism of whatever level of expertise played.

The Trinity of Football-Gaelic, Soccer & American, as enjoyed this day was made possible by the Saints of Siena Heights University being in the midst of a cross-cultural Ireland tour, envisioned and led by Coach ‘Scooter Olson’ and coordinated by Global Football founder Patrick Steenberge. The experience was conceived and led by St James Gate FC owner Andy O’Callaghan, as a fun educational opportunity for his local teenagers, who hail from the Guinness area of Dublin. It was supported by Trinity College leadership, brought to fruition through the energy of many  volunteers, coaches, parents and supporters from the two countries of Ireland and America. As has so often been done throughout history. 

Sport in most any format, coupled with Education is how our Youth learn and retain at the highest level. And Football is the greatest sport I know.  While not a direct quote, it is what legendary GAA icon and educator, my friend Brian Mullins believed, and how he lived.

Patrick Steenberge

Global Football Founder & President

817.219.7274      @globalfootballguy