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How Pope Francis (probably) ended up with personalized DC United shirt

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Francis

Pope Francis is presented with a Croatia national soccer team jersey reading his name in Croatian by Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, left, during a private audience in the pontiff’s studio, at the Vatican, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, Pool)


How does one get the Pope his very own No. 10 DC United jersey?

In the case of this week’s visit of the Pontifex to the United States, it took the Kennedy family, a man who was played by John Lynch in “In the Name of the Father” and a soccer promoter.

Steven Goff of the Washington Post has the story, and it’s pretty interesting.

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So it turns out that Paul Hill, who was jailed as part of the Guildford Four, is a big DC United fan. He’s also the ex-husband of Courtney Kennedy, the daughter of RFK and Ethel Kennedy. The latter was set to have a visit with Papa Francisco, and a conduit was necessary given the magnitude of two of the world’s most powerful men in the same big city.

Through a quick turn-around jersey negotiated by a soccer supplier and DC general manager Dave Kasper, the jersey ended up with the Pope. Well, it ended up with a Papal aide, but we’re hoping it made its way to the man born Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

From the Washington Post:

The biggest question was: What number do you give the Pope?” Kasper said.

The obvious choice was “1.”

But …

“Any time you give a gift to an Argentine who likes soccer,” Kasper said, “it has to be 10.”

We’re trusting that current DCU No. 10 and Pope Francis’ country mate, Fabian Espindola, didn’t mind “giving up” his number for the day. A cool story, regardless of your faith. Let’s hope the Pope got to test it out.

Follow @NicholasMendola