Page 62 - Cormorant 2019
P. 62

The Donovan Cup
  Lt Col Jonathas Campos
DURING RSE 2 IN the USA, ACSC 22 played an awesome Soccer game
amid the packed schedule. The aim of the match was to
remember Lt Cdr Bill Donovan. But who is Bill Donovan and what is the history of the Donovan Cup?
In 2000, a Royal Air Force communications engineer and football lover called Tony Boyle was an exchange officer working in the Pentagon. Tony became involved in a casual soccer team known as the Pentagon Soccer Club. One of his fellow players was a US Navy officer, Lt Cdr Bill Donovan, who was a P-3 pilot. On completion
of his Pentagon tour, Tony was posted back to the UK to attend ACSC and
was on the course when 9/11 occurred. During the attack on the Pentagon, Bill Donovan was tragically killed. Tony had pre-arranged as part of his own RSE
2 to play the Pentagon Soccer Club and, with the events of 9/11 in mind, he decided to buy a trophy (in downtown Swindon) and took it across the Atlantic announcing that they would play for the ‘Donovan Cup’. Since then, the match
has become an annual fixture, which ACSC has yet to win.
This year the ACSC 22 team surely couldn’t lose: the captain was Brazilian and there were Germans, French, Britons and Italians in the team. It
was World-Cup winning pedigree and their flair and skills shone through in the extensive pre-match training. This scratch team of willing volunteers, players and supporters were determined and despite many nations and services represented, they were united by a desire to win for the cup for the first time.
The heart touching origin of this friendly match was made all the more poignant by meeting Bill Donovan’s family before the national anthems. Therefore, there was no way anyone was going to pull out despite warnings of a looming thunderstorm. Sure enough, soon after kick-off, Biblical rain fell which made conditions really challenging. But after lightning struck within half a mile of the pitch, the game had to be temporarily abandoned... much to the relief of the very soggy supporters (which included the Commandant) cowering under umbrellas. A fortunate break in the storm allowed the game to be resumed and a full 90 minutes played on the – now very wet – astroturf.
The match is a real highlight for the Pentagon Soccer team and is an apt commemoration for the memory of
Bill Donovon. It also celebrates the strength and role of allies and partners after 9/11; it was apt that the team was made up of players from UK, Brazil, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, German, Chile, France, India and Italy. In the
end it was not the result that mattered, which is lucky because ACSC lost 5-1. With friendships renewed, we look forward to hearing about ACSC 23’s success next year....
     The match
is a real highlight for
the Pentagon Soccer team... ◆◆◆

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