Feb. 2, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A total of six student-athletes from the graduating high school class of 2017 have signed on to join the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer program during the National Letter of Intent signing period.
Irish head coach Bobby Clark announced defender Mitch MacDonald (Troy, Michigan), midfielder Aiden McFadden (West Chester, Pennsylvania), goalkeeper Keagan McLaughlin (Zanesville, Ohio), midfielder Townsend Meyer (San Diego, California), forward Simon Roennecke (Pleasant Ridge, Michigan) and forward/midfielder Paul Rothrock (Seattle, Washington), as the newest men’s soccer members of the Notre Dame Class of 2021. All six players will be eligible to officially join the Irish for the 2017 season.
“This is a good class, adding at goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward,” Clark said. “It’s a very hard-working group, and even though many of them are now playing academy we all saw them while playing for non-academy teams and at camp. I’m very excited about this class. It’s filled with players we’ve really liked that we’ve watched over a number of years, and we’re very comfortable with them.
“As I always say, I’ll be able to tell you in three years’ time just how good of a class it is,” Clark added. “We’ve got a very committed group of players that love soccer, and they will carry on and maintain the traditions of Notre Dame soccer.”
2017 Notre Dame Men’s Soccer Signees
Mitch MacDonald – D – 6-2 – 175 – Troy – Troy, Michigan
PREP AND PERSONAL:
– Played the past two seasons for the Vardar U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-18 team.
– Qualified to compete in Academy Playoffs during the 2016 season.
– Two-year letterwinner at Troy High School prior to academy tenure.
– Was an all-league and all-district selection during sophomore year.
– Was voted to serve as a junior team captain before transitioning to academy soccer.
– Named team Rookie of the Year as a freshman, and garnered all-league and all-district honors.
– AP Scholar with Distinction honoree.
– Chosen as a scholar-athlete during each of two seasons at Troy High School.
– Has participated in the Michigan China Quiz Bowl state tournament at Wayne State University.
– Member of the Chinese Language and Culture Club.
– Has volunteered with the Birmingham Family YMCA and the Notre Dame Club of Detroit.
– Son of Stuart (’86) and Jacqueline (’86) MacDonald and has one brother, Miles, and one sister, Morgan.
– Father, Stuart, was a defender and three-time Monogram winner for the Notre Dame men’s soccer team from 1982-85.
– Brother, Miles, played soccer at Eastern Michigan University.
– Will be the sixth member of immediate family to attend Notre Dame.
Coach Clark on Mitch MacDonald:
“Mitch we’ve known for a long time, he has been to camp many times. But we even knew him before that because his dad is an alumnus, he would come to games and we’ve seen Mitch since he was young grow and develop. He’s carrying on the family tradition of playing for the Irish. He’s a good athlete and he can play any of the back four positions. He’s mainly a central defender, he has good feet for a central defender, and he has continued to get better over the years. He is a good player just now, but I think he has the potential to really take it to another level. Hopefully we can develop that over his four years at Notre Dame.”
Aiden McFadden – M – 5-9 – 150 – Henderson – West Chester, Pennsylvania
PREP AND PERSONAL:
– Letterwinner at B. Reed Henderson High School as an attacking center midfielder.
– Team claimed the 2016 District I PIAA title in 2016, and were three-time Ches-Mont League champions from 2014-16.
– Scored 37 goals and 37 assists over varsity career, helping lead Henderson to a 57-10-1 combined record.
– Named MVP of the 2016 TopDrawerSoccer TeamSnap High School All-America Game.
– 2016 TopDrawerSoccer All-America selection, and two-time all-state and all-region choice (2015-16).
– Selected as the 2015 360 Soccer CC High School Player of the Year.
– Three-time all-league first team recipient.
– Led junior varsity team in goals and assists during an 18-0-0 season as a freshman.
– Also played basketball during high school career.
– Member of the Penn Fusion 98 Elite team on the club circuit, where team has won five USYS state championships, two Region I titles, a pair of National League crowns and has reached the national semifinals on two occasions.
– Named to the 2015 Region I Championships Best XI, and the 2015 Generation Adidas Summer Select team.
– Has participated with the Philadelphia Union Junior 98 Select program, and was a U.S. Soccer Training Center invitee.
– Trained at the Crewe Alexandra F.C. Academy during the summer of 2011.
– Member of the National Honor Society.
– Assistant soccer trainer for youth teams at EPL summer camps, and has worked as a coach with the West Chester United Little Player program.
– Son of Russ and Katie McFadden and has two sisters, Carly and Eliza.
Coach Clark on Aiden McFadden:
“Aiden adds to our Pennsylvania/Philadelphia group, along with Patrick Berneski and Senan Farrelly, so we’re increasing that contingent. Aiden is someone who we feel is a very strong player. We watched him play at Wilson, North Carolina, a few years ago and we’ve really liked him ever since. We’ve watched him play for his club team Penn Fusion and he can play mainly as an attacking midfield player, a number 10, or he can play in the wide areas as either a seven or 11. Those have been his principle roles but I think that he can play others, he’s a very determined player that reminds me of Evan Panken. Determination and hard work, Aiden is a competitor. We think he can be a very good player for us that will score goals from the midfield, he can get into attacking areas and he wants to get forward. He has the engine and he’s got the desire to get back and defend when needed, really looking forward to working with Aiden.”
Keagan McLaughlin – GK – 6-4 – 180 – Bishop Rosecrans – Zanesville, Ohio
PREP AND PERSONAL:
– Four-year soccer letterwinner at Bishop Rosecrans High School.
– Spent final three seasons as a starting goalkeeper after playing as a forward during freshman campaign.
– Bishop Rosecrans reached back-to-back state final four appearances during junior and senior seasons as a team captain.
– Invited to play in the 2016 Continental Tire All-American game following senior year after being named a USA Today Preseason All-America selection.
– Two-time NSCAA Great Lakes State Region High School team choice.
– Three-time all-state selection (first team as a junior and senior, second team as a sophomore).
– Named district player of the year each of final two high school seasons.
– Also played four seasons of basketball for Bishop Rosecrans, and was a two
– Starting goalkeeper of the ODP Region II 2014/2015 – 98 Boys Team that competed in the Costa Rica Friendlies in February 2015 and the IMG ODP Interregional in December 2014.
– Top goalkeeper rated in the ODP Region II rankings in July 2014.
– Competed with Xtabi on the club circuit, highlighted by a Northern Ohio Cup championship victory and the 2015 Buckeye Premier Elite 1 League title.
– Received Ohio’s Governor’s award during state science day competition.
– Vice president of the National Honor Society and student body at Bishop Rosecrans.
– Has also served as president of the Spanish Club and vice president of the Key Club.
– Son of Sam and Kim McLaughlin and has one brother, Logan, and five sisters, Molly, Sara, Lily, Makaela and Jenna.
– Brother, Logan, played soccer at MIT.
Coach Clark on Keagan McLaughlin:
“Keagan is carrying on the tradition of tall goalkeepers at Notre Dame. He came to camp last year and we watched him very carefully, and it didn’t surprise me that he was an All-American high school player this year. He has good hands, and is one of the top goalkeepers coming out of Ohio this year if not the top. Keagan is someone that will push the other goalkeepers, and we have a good quota of goalkeepers this year. I think he will fit in nicely into our strong tradition of good goalkeepers. It’s interesting that three out of our four goalkeepers in the squad this year will all be former campers. This year I came down and spent two mornings just watching the goalkeepers, and no question Keagan impressed. We had no hesitation in recruiting him.”
Townsend Meyer – M – 6-0 – 155 – Point Loma – San Diego, California
PREP AND PERSONAL:
– Four-year soccer letterwinner at Point Loma High School.
– Point Loma claimed the Division 2 CIF Championship during junior season, and was awarded the Team Player award from the team.
– Received the Most Consistent Player award following sophomore campaign.
– Has played with Albion SC on the club circuit.
– Named the 2016 Albion SC Male Player of the Year after spending the season playing with the Albion SC Pros of the National Premier Soccer League.
– Two-time U.S. National League champions and U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship series participant (2013 and 2014).
– Winner of the 2014 ODP Region IV Championship.
– Son of Scott and Kari Meyer and has one sister, Kayla.
Coach Clark on Townsend Meyer:
“Townsend is a California boy who we first saw in the Wilson tournament as an under-16 at that time. He was a player who made the game look easy, and this is something good players do. They were playing in a back three and he was almost the free man of the two central defenders that day, and I just loved the way he read the game and connected his passes. We’ve seen him quite a few times since and he is really a midfield player, a number six or number eight, and he actually could play as a number 10. I like the way he solves problems in the game and he does it with ease, he never seems rushed and always seems in control. It’s nice to get another West Coaster in here, Ian Aschieris was getting lonely as our only California boy. It’s good to get Townsend to join him.”
Simon Roennecke – F – 6-0 – 160 – The Roeper School – Pleasant Ridge, Michigan
PREP AND PERSONAL:
– Moved to academy soccer with the CSA Wolves U-18 Academy prior to senior high school soccer season.
– Letterwinner at The Roeper School over first three seasons, scoring 98 career goals and adding 57 assists.
– Was an all-state second team selection as a junior despite missing 12 games due to injury, scoring 29 goals on the way to team reaching the district finals.
– Won state championship as a sophomore after team posted a 23-1 record, earning The Roeper School its first state title in any sport.
– Scored 40 goals and added 36 assists during state championship campaign, and notched all-state first team recognition.
– Reached the state semifinals as a freshman after team posted a 19-5 mark, and scored 29 goals and chipped in 18 assists to place on the all-state second team.
– Before joining the CSA Wolves U-18s, played with the Force Football Club on the club circuit.
– Served as club team captain for U-16 and U-17 seasons, and averaged a hat trick per game during a run to the State Cup with the U-16s.
– Has written for school newspaper for two years.
– Son of Werner Roennecke and Patricia Ignatius and has two brothers, Werner and Eric.
– Brother, Werner, played soccer at Kalamazoo College.
Coach Clark on Simon Roennecke:
“We saw Simon playing with his club team score an absolute bundle of goals, and he scored 98 goals in only three years of high school before deciding to play academy this year. I think that has been really good for him, as his previous club was also good but he was the main man. When he moved up to the academy level he moved into a higher level of soccer, and it’s been good to prepare him to come to Notre Dame. He’s very fast, has a good appetite for chasing through balls, and he finishes well. We watched him play and wanted him to come to our camp to get a closer look, and what I noticed was his ability to finish. Scoring 98 goals in three years of high school, that’s a lot of goals. I don’t know what the competition was like but it doesn’t matter, if you’re scoring that many goals you must be able to finish. He played in one camp game here, was on for 20 minutes and he scored four goals, so he’s a goal scorer. Simon is also another Michigan Wolves boy, joining Matt Habrowski and Blake Townes, and Oliver Harris from last year, so there’s a great pipeline from the Michigan Wolves team.”
Paul Rothrock – F/M – 5-9 – 165 – Lakeside School – Seattle, Washington
PREP AND PERSONAL:
– Three-year letterwinner at Lakeside School.
– Has been a member of three Metro Championship teams and a two-time all-state selection.
– As a junior captain for the Lions, tallied 11 goals and 14 assists as an attacking winger.
– Scored a career-high 12 goals and chipped in 13 assists during sophomore campaign.
– As a central midfielder during freshman season, notched 10 goals and a career-high 16 assists.
– Has also competed in basketball and cross country.
– Currently plays for the Seattle Sounders FC U-17/18 on the club circuit after previously competing with Seattle United.
– Club teams have made one national finals appearance, two regional titles, two state championships and a Dallas Cup champion.
– Was a two-time all-state choice and a member of the Dallas Cup Best XI.
– Finalist for the World Scholar’s Cup.
– Volunteer at the St. Vincent DePaul food bank and L’arche Seattle, a home and community for the mentally handicapped.
– Son of Stephen Rothrock and Tessa Keating and has four sisters, Mia (twin), Annie, Rosie and Claire.
Coach Clark on Paul Rothrock:
“Paul is another West Coaster who we first saw at the Dallas Cup a few years ago playing for Seattle United. I kept him on the radar but hadn’t had a chance to see him close up until I went out to the University of Washington to visit my son, Jamie, for Easter. He was holding an ID Camp that weekend and I suddenly saw Paul again. He’s a very skillful player, very two-footed, he’ll take corners with his right or his left foot, and he’s got a nice confidence about him during the game. We liked him and I revved it up again, and fortunately Paul decided to come to Notre Dame. He’s a wide midfield player that can play as a number 10 or even as a nine, but he’s an attacking and creative player. This year, like Simon, he decided to go the academy route for his senior year to prepare for college and has been one of the top performers for the Seattle Sounders FC U-18s. He’s done very well.”
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.