(Originally Published in the 2004 Can-Am Program)

As the rolling year wends its way to the long weekend in May, the thoughts of the Can-Am Friendship Tournament soccer players naturally gravitate towards another chance for competition and camaraderie. The Tournament is now well into its third decade: a significant achievement for the participants. Each year sees friends old and new reunited or introduced. Many of the faces have been part of the tournament for much of its existence. This section aims to highlight one such individual, George Murray.

George is a member of the Cataraqui Soccer Club and a former goalie for the team. He has been associated with Cataraqui Soccer Club since its earliest days as a player, coach and as a mentor and role model for new members joining the club. However, George is better known to the Friendship Tournament as the man who sings the National Anthem of both nations at the Tournament Banquet. A crooner extraordinaire, his lilting tones inspire pride in his fellows as he sings “The Star Spangled Banner” and “O, Canada!”. George has been singing the anthems for as many years as I can remember, and he thinks that it is about 20! He takes great joy and personal pride in his endeavours, and was please to find them rewarded the first year he performed by having money thrown on the stage by some of the American attendees.

George coached the Cataraqui Soccer Club in the Tournament for some of our more valiant efforts. One of his claims to fame is having coached the team that never lost a game and still finished third. For the last few years George has been coach of the skillful and occasionally successful Canadian over forties team. He has a flair for timely substitutions: indeed who can forget the magnificent Morton, Stewart, Armstrong goal from the competition in Toronto (I certainly cannot!).

George Murray is an excellent advocate and ambassador for recreational soccer, and embodies the true spirit of the Friendship Tournament. When I asked George to sum up his thoughts of the tournament he echoed the notions of “friendship”, “camaraderie”, “humanity”, and “brotherhood”, with which this Tournament has always been associated. George is an aficionado of Robert Burns, and asked me to include this quotation:

Then let us pray that come it may, As come it will for a' that,
That sense and worth o'er a' the earth, May bear the gree an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that, It's comin' yet for a' that,
That man to man the warld o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that.

We will all be singing the anthems along with you again this year, George.

Ross Morton
Cataraqui Soccer Club