Ryan Finley netted three goals in last season's adidas/IU Credit Union Classic.

Fighting Irish Playing Well In The Preseason

Aug. 17, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team has been in preseason training camp for just over a week and the Irish are producing positive results on the pitch. On Sunday, the Fighting Irish swept two exhibition matches at Northern Illinois and the Irish played the Chivas Guadalajara Under-23 team to a 1-1 draw Thursday evening in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Notre Dame struck first against Chivas Guadalajara, one of the top professional teams in Mexico, when junior Harrison Shipp assisted on Ryan Finley’s goal in the 59th minute. Chivas’ Irving Avalos headed home the equalizer in the 67th minute.

Thursday’s match was played in front of 3,400 fans at the Hefner Soccer Complex on the campus of IPFW. The game was part of the Shindigz National Soccer Festival.

“It was a great experience and a great atmosphere for our guys,” says Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “They (Chivas) are a very good team. I was pleased with the way our team handled playing against such a good team. I don’t feel we’ll play any stronger or more technical team this season and we have a very strong schedule. That was a really good test for us. It was maybe a little earlier than we would have wanted, but to get an opportunity to play a quality game like that will prove very beneficial.”

Finley, a senior forward, has three goals in two games played during this exhibition season. He scored twice in Notre Dame’s 3-0 win over Northern Illinois in Sunday’s second match. The Irish topped the Huskies, 2-0, behind two goals from freshman Patrick Hodan in the first contest.

Fifth-year senior Will Walsh and junior Patrick Wall split time equally in goal during the second Northern Illinois match and the Chivas contest.

The Fighting Irish will conclude their 2012 exhibition slate Monday when they play host to Xavier. The match is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium. Admission to the game is free.

Not only can Irish fans show their support for the Notre Dame squad on Monday, they can also donate to a good cause. This is the ninth straight season that the Notre Dame men’s soccer team has held a match to benefit Grassroot Soccer (GRS), which is an international non-governmental organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities against the spread of HIV. GRS has a special connection to Notre Dame soccer as Dr. Tommy Clark, the eldest son of Bobby Clark, founded the organization.

Donations for GRS will be accepted throughout Monday’s contest. The Notre Dame men’s soccer camp will match all donations dollar-for-dollar. Go to grassrootsoccer.org for more information on GRS.

“We hope that we can raise some money for Grassroot Soccer, which is a very worthwhile cause,” says Clark. “It raises awareness that HIV is still a huge killer in Africa and I hope people are aware of that. It’s nice that we can use soccer to help. Grassroot Soccer uses soccer in Africa as the main medium to educate and it’s great that we can use our sport here to help their cause.”

Irish soccer fans have a special opportunity to meet both the men’s and women’s squads tomorrow (Aug. 18) during the annual “Meet The Teams” barbecue and fan appreciation event from 4-6 p.m. (ET) the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in South Bend. The Kroc Center is located at 900 West Western Ave.

This free event, which has become a favorite of fans and teams alike, allows members of the South Bend/Michiana community to meet the players and coaches from both nationally-ranked Irish squads. Student-athletes of both teams will be on hand to sign autographs and take pictures. Some of the Fighting Irish players also will be available to compete in pick-up games and skills challenges. Along with free food, there will be activities for younger fans, including face painting and balloon animals.

The Notre Dame men will play host to Duke Aug. 25 in the regular season opener. Kickoff between the Fighting Irish and Blue Devils is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium.

To purchase tickets for the 2012 Fighting Irish season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.