Aug. 23, 2015
DATE: Aug. 24, 2015
TIME: 7 p.m. (ET)
LOCATION: Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium — cap. 3,500)
LAST MEETING (Exhibition): T, 0-0 (8/16/14 at SLU)
TICKETS: Free admission, with donations to Grassroot Soccer accepted at the gate of Alumni Stadium and during the match.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Less than one week remains until the 2015 University of Notre Dame men’s soccer regular season officially gets underway at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington. With a final exhibition match remaining on the schedule prior to an Aug. 28 showdown with No. 13 Maryland, the final outside scrimmage features the No. 4 Irish and No. 22 Saint Louis at 7 p.m. (ET) on Monday at Alumni Stadium.
The match will be streamed live through the WatchND player at UND.com. Live stats will also be available through CBS Gametracker.
“We’ve learned a lot from the first two scrimmages, and we haven’t quite hit top gear just yet,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “There have been hints of it but we will get near it on Monday. We’re making progress working with our younger guys, and this is the first time many of the freshmen have really had to think this technically about soccer. These games continue to help us get game fit, which is important.
“You’re always trying to win the game when you’re out there, but Monday’s game will be most important in having a look at the depth we have,” Clark added.
Notre Dame has split its first two 90-minute scrimmage matches during the 2015 preseason, dropping a 2-1 decision at No. RV Ohio State on Aug. 16 before shutting out Butler 1-0 last Wednesday. Monday’s meeting with Saint Louis will be the first and only outside Irish scrimmage to take place inside Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame and Saint Louis battled to a 0-0 draw after 60 minutes on Aug. 16 last year in a match that was suspended due to severe and inclement weather in the Saint Louis area. The Billikens, a former Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) foe of the Irish, own an 8-3-1 edge in official matches in the series history between the teams.
Monday’s contest also marks the annual Notre Dame men’s soccer Grassroot Soccer (GSR) benefit game. Admission to Alumni Stadium is free for the match, with donations accepted toward Grassroot Soccer at the stadium gate and throughout the night.
Grassroot Soccer is an international organization dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV, and was founded by Clark’s eldest son, Tommy. Soccer is one of the organization’s main educational tools used in communities to reinforce HIV awareness, and is a cause that the Notre Dame program has championed wholeheartedly.
“This is our 12th Grassroot Soccer game, and it’s obviously a charity that we support,” Clark said. “We make it a donation game (to attend) and hope that everyone gives at least a dollar. Whatever money is collected at the gate I will match, so it gives a nice donation to Grassroot Soccer. It’s a charity that’s obviously very close to me because my oldest son Tommy is a pediatrician, and really his full-time job now is using soccer to educate young Africans about HIV.”
One of Bobby Clark’s earliest positions in coaching was with the Bulawayo Highlanders of the Zimbabwe Super League from 1983-84. Grassroot Soccer’s focus in that area provides yet another endearing bond with the Irish, who traveled to the republic in 2014 on a service trip alongside Grassroot Soccer.
“The neat thing for us was being out in Zimbabwe a year ago, and we went to some of the clinics,” Clark said. “They have these centers where they test kids for HIV, but they also run clinics with soccer as the theme of it and it gives them good education about HIV and how to prevent getting it.
“It’s a great charity for us, and obviously we have the connection with soccer,” Clark added. “Hopefully we raise some awareness and some money to help. A lot of people come to the game and might not totally understand (Grassroot Soccer), but it is a big organization now. The chairman of Grassroot Soccer is Tom Crotty (’80, Alumni Stadium benefactor), so that’s another big Notre Dame connection. A lot of Tommy’s Dartmouth classmates have been very supportive, and it’s a big organization now with centers in Zambia, several in South Africa and also Zimbabwe.”
For more information on Grassroot Soccer, visit GrassrootSoccer.org.
Season and single game tickets for Notre Dame men’s soccer are on sale now. Visit und.com/tickets or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356.
— Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant