Celtic Cup - History,

 

Celtic Cup - History, Tradition, Competition and Excellence
 
 
One score and years ago Celtic Cup made a conscientious choice to become Southern California’s premier calendar event for State Cup preparation and adjustment following league and high school competition.
Trial and error, experimentation, entrepreneurial soccer club spirit, and timing were good-cause, place and circumstance reasons for the creation of Celtic Cup. Celtic Soccer Club did not transition well up to the next level of So-Cal State Cup competition and realized from 1979 through the early 1980s that with CIF high school finals ending in February, there was usually at least a month layoff before youth club teams commenced their pursuit of the California State and National championships. Teams beginning their pursuit of said titles were many times unprepared and uninformed concerning the challenges and determination of the aforementioned competition. Out of this challenge came Celtic Cup 1 on March 17th 18th 1984. Celtic Cup was the first genuine Southern California preparation (tune-up) tournament for State Cup and National Cup competitors.
 
Timing in life is everything… The mother of all Arctic storms blew in at dawn on the grand opening day of Celtic Cup 1 and lasted 50 hours. That fierce Celtic Cup 1 deluge still holds the record for highlander weather. Gales and Gaels descended from the heavens with lashing rain, thunder and lightning, providing opportunity aplenty to deal with adversity and trudge through the mud and cold sludge, using Gaelic-words of exasperation in the perfect Celtic Cup storm.
 
On that St. Patrick’s Day, the slogan was born:
Celtic Cup is a tough, hard slog; good luck!
 
The founding Celtic Soccer Club Bronze team, BU/11, DOB 1968, was the inspiration for the Celtic Cup. This team dwelled in the cellar during their initial season. The coach (this author) promised his players in 1982 that he would produce a stand-alone youth soccer tournament to honor the team. A team that through hard work and dedication, catapulted from a last place finish, Bronze U11 team in 1979, to the Cal-South U/16 National Cup Championship final in 1984.
 
Irish Proverb: Life is a puzzle, squeeze in where you fit.
 
Celtic Cup has two reasons for two seasons: One prepares pre high school age club teams after December. The other prepares actual high school age club teams after February.

Celtic Cup solved a Cal-So, State Cup, National Cup, prep puzzle for both age groups, providing an event for each in their time and place. Fittingly and by design, Celtic Cup squeezed in exactly where it fit as the Rose Bowl of prep tournaments.
 
This time frame still prepares So-Cal teams for the main event at State and National Cup. Applicant competitors from across the USA and around the World also fit in very well, because of the usually beautiful sunny 85` So-Cal winter weather; serious teams play out west, where it’s the best!
Druid Proverb: It’s not the will to win that counts its’ the will to prepare.
 
Yours truly made over 400 telephone calls during a six month period in 1983 and visited many soccer clubs, friend and foe alike, to produce the first Celtic Cup. These efforts eventually produced 80 teams appearing in the 1984 inaugural Celtic Cup. Many of those 350+ teams that declined the invitation to participate in the initial Celtic Cup learned to regret that decision. This occurred when their failure to compete in the Celtic Cup tournament caused them to be unprepared and uninformed about the rigors of State Cup and National Cup competition; in like a lion out like a lamb - many were the player who withered on the vine.

…Matthew Chapter 22, Verse 41: The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.
 
Just two years after the initial Celtic Cup tournament, the January edition of Celtic Cup was incorporated into the program. The January tournament provided an opportunity for pre high school age teams. A few years later, Celtic Cup went to a multiple weekend format followed by 3-weekends in January and 3-weekends in March. This expanded Celtic Cup schedule assured every applicant team’s acceptance in the tournament. No applicant team has ever been denied entry in Celtic Cup. Politics of youth soccer have never been allowed and never will be allowed to influence any aspect of Celtic Cup. Celtic folks expressly denied bracketing access.
 
Celtic Cup provides that younger teams in the January tournament will have the championship matches on Sunday evenings under the lights. The March tournaments are Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Approximately 80% of the March tournament is completed by Sunday evening. Traffic in Southern California is extraordinary. That is why there are no Friday matches scheduled for Celtic Cup. Celtic Cup’s refusal to schedule Friday matches also allows the 40% out-of-state teams and the 60% So-Cal team’s time to travel leisurely on Saturday mornings.
 
Other problems solved are the availability of over 100 required premier referees per day and team-manager check-in 90-minutes before initial match of the tournament. A major part of every Celtic Cup is the interest shown by prominent colleges and universities. These major institutions have learned that attendance at Celtic Cup to scout participating student athletes is a must. Each college and university coach, upon request, receives in writing information about participating players. Celtic Cup has a web link for coaches who attend Celtic Cup. Celtic Cup has an informational link for the student athletes to display their SAT scores. Down through the years thousands of high school seniors have found their way onto college campuses via Celtic Cup.
 
The mission statement of Celtic Cup, known to the world, is a commitment to invest whatever funds are necessary to keep its Platinum tournament status. This policy allows Celtic cup to attract teams from across the United States and around the world. Celtic Cup invented the 4-match minimum format. This expensive format provides coaches the opportunity to experiment and prepare their teams for the ultimate prize. The 4-match minimum policy also allows teams from out of state greater opportunity to compete against the best in the west… So-Cal. Celtic Cup endures as the preeminent State Cup, US Club championship preparatory event, because so many are repeat participants: who’s-who of So-Cal jump in and jostle.
 
The Celtic Cup tournament is a punctilious and colorful spectacle providing pomp, ceremony and circumstance. At the awards ceremony all finalist teams receive congratulatory recognition and are seated for the occasion. Every finalist player receives a personal and formal greeting, steps forward for a handshake and custom male/female trophy.
 
Tournament staff installs over 200 flags crisscrossing the soccer complex. There are matching corner and midfield flags, all proportionate with three green and white stripes. The preparation for Celtic Cup requires a crew of at least ten people working five days in advance of the tournament doing such things as mowing the grass, lining the fields, building the score board, setting up the nets, and providing custom World Cup shape goals for all of the 80x50-YD SS fields.11-Aside fields are 110x70-YDS. Assistant referees are accommodated with a special blue line 1-YD off the sideline. Scores are posted on the website all day, every day. Website displayed in English and Spanish – 100,000+ visits annually. Hotels, restaurants displayed on the menu.
 
Celtic Cup has relocated to more upscale pictured digs.
 January and March rain is frequently a big problem for booked hotels, fields, et al.

8 AM to 8 PM
 
Preparation and execution of Celtic Cup is not cheap. The over 100 referees per day, staff of 40, complex rental fees, security, custom trophies, and other costs approximate $400,000.00+. Seven golf carts are always available for any eventuality, including the transportation of injured players, grandparents from car door to the sideline. Celtic tournament staff is participating youngsters in the club who bring a youthful exuberance to the event. The teams check-in on site, there are 20 vendors in place by Friday before each tournament weekend. A dozen restrooms are professionally cleaned mid-day and locked at night. There are 200-fifty gallon drums, with liners for trash. Trash is collected daily. The facilities used by Celtic Cup can accommodate an average of three flights for every age group. Some weekends Celtic Cup attracts over 12,000 people per day on site. Around 850 teams consisting of 13,000+ players participate annually.
 
Celtic Cup has always had its share of critics. Celtic Cup looks at each criticism and then improves. The mightiest Irishman of all, The Quare Fellow – himself, Brendan Behan said it best: Critics are like eunuchs in a harem, they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.
 
Why the name Celtic? Why Celtic Cup? Emigrant’s departure causes grief and sorrow as only they know; however, immigrants arrival into the new world, whether Shanty Irish traveling via the hull on a ship sailing over the ocean and singing "The Wild Colonial Boy" or Limey Royalty in first class private, munching on caviar via John Bull’s credit card or Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande, fast and furious – Celtic Cup Amigos, bring with them their sins, customs and cultural inclinations.
 
Paddy, Pedro and Patricia, meet Uncle Sam!
 
Everything about Celtic has a reference or connection out of the distant past. As an example, in the mid 1800s and during the period of the horrific Irish potato famine, one gentleman’s life was changed forever.

His name was Andrew Kearins. Andrew, whether through destiny or circumstance, in turn brought sustenance and joy to the lives of untold millions; benefits to the mass of society that he could never have imagined. Andrew joined the Irish Missionaries. Upon taking charity vows and accepting his mission, Andrew Kearins took the missionary name Br. Walfrid and was immediately sentenced to a life of helping the poor in Glasgow Scotland.
 
Upon arrival and after surveying the City of Glasgow, Br. Walfrid realized straight away that it was going to take an Irishman to solve the Scottish poverty problem. The good brother rolled up his sleeves, found throngs of Glaswegian lads on the people’s dole, many with strong backs and weak minds, the ability to curtail indulgence in good Guinness albeit awhile, and take orders.
 
Br. Walfrid’s resolution to instill a work ethic, invented stir-about kitchens for food banks, and created a wee football club. The football club was promoted for the express purpose of raising funds for the poor. What’s in a name? Community Catholic pride and universal symbolic recognition were incorporated into a Scottish/Irish identity - the Glasgow Celtic FC-1888 was born with green and white hoop jerseys. The ’Bhoys’ had a new club and things have never been the same since, and never will. Br. Walfrid was born and raised eight miles from this author’s native community in County Sligo - hence the connection.
 
Chinese Proverb: The reputation of 1,000 years can be determined by the actions of one hour.
 
Celtic appreciates this proverb and histories numerous horrible examples. Celtic Cup reputation of one score and many years determines its fate by the actions of every hour.
 
Fourscore and seventeen years from this reading, when present participants and tournament soldiers are in their hallowed graves, Celtic Cup will long endure and continue in the spirit of its calendared time, place and purpose.
 
Conceived in the spirit of commitment to good competition, sportsmanship, and dedicated to the proposition that all participants shall receive equal and equitable bracketing, and fair play. Celtic Cup is, of course, of the players, by the players, and for the players.
 
The best and brightest battlers, past and present, who’ve competed - fought and failed, have glorified its image and reputation far above anyone’s effort to ever add to, or detract from, its formidable Y friendly appeal.
 
Disappear? Perish the thought! America’s greatest would concur.
 
Lest we forget the proverbial ‘3-Blind Mice’, officiating hobbyists are they. Referees are surely a breed apart, ever punctual and never complain, rain or shine. In the opinion of Celtic Cup the ref, whether patient or MD juror or jurist is the cardio vascular organ and wise arbiter of the tournament. Celtic Cup does have minimum requirements for the ref IE: Patience of Job, wisdom of Moses, marathon running ability of Pheidippides, and no Bozos are but a few. Celtic Cup, demands and all, attracts the best of the best referees from near and far.
 
Matthew Chapter 22, Verse: 14 “Many are called, but few are chosen".

Celtic Cup is a tough, hard slog…

In conclusion, while the saga/shin-dig continues: Celtic Cup is akin to attending a rousing Ceili in a thatched cottage on the West Coast of Ireland on a winter’s day with friend and foe in song and repartee. Harps, Hoops, Druids and Hibernians from hither ’n yon, thread ’n thrum-Rangers sharing O’Doul’s and Blarney Stone… all the while, sitting by the hearth with a bright turf fire burning. Aye!
 
Celtic revelers:
Hosts Celtic Women - Chorus
James Galway - flute
Ronan Tynan - Tenor
The Chieftains
& U2
Singing
Danny Boy.
Hail, Hail, The Celts Are Here
&
The Soldiers Song
 
One score and years ago - seems like only yesterday….

Celtic Cup is a tough, hard slog; good luck!
 
SEMPER FI !
Buena Suerte

Matthew McDonagh
 
Original ’68 Celtic
 
Todd McDonagh, Steve Taylor, Mike Tello, and Sean McGonegle