Matt Besler was selected by Kansas City in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.

Former Irish Standouts Set To Play Against Elite European Squads

July 16, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three former Notre Dame men’s soccer players will be competing against elite competition in the near future. Recent graduates Justin Morrow (’10), Bright Dike (’10), Matt Besler (’09) and their respective Major League Soccer (MLS) teams will have exhibition matches against squads from the English Premier League (EPL).

Morrow and the San Jose Earthquakes will play host to Tottenham Hotspur at 4:00 p.m. (PT) on Saturday, July 17 at Buck Shaw Stadium. The match can be seen on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Tottenham Hotspur was founded in 1882 and has been a member of the Premier League since its inception. The 2009-10 season was Tottenham’s most successful yet in the Premier League as they finished fourth, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time.

Also on Saturday, Dike and the Portland Timbers will face Manchester City at 7:00 p.m. (PT) at Merlo Field on the University of Portland campus. Founded in 1880, Manchester City is one of the most historic clubs in England and has won nine league championships and four FA Cup titles among its many accomplishments. The club finished the 2009-10 Premier League season in fifth place and earned a berth into the 2010-11 UEFA Europa League, formerly known as the UEFA Cup.

Besler and his Kansas City Wizards squad will face Manchester United on Sunday, July 25. Match time is slated for 5:00 p.m. (CT) at the New Arrowhead Stadium. Manchester United, an EPL powerhouse and one of the most famous professional sports teams in the world, will open its four-match North America tour in Toronto on Friday (July 16) against Celtic of the Scottish Premier League. The trip concludes in Houston on July 28 with a match against the MLS All-Stars. Manchester United was founded in 1878 and is one of the most successful clubs in the history of English soccer. The club has won a joint-record 18 league titles, four League Cups and a record 11 FA Cups.

The MLS currently is in the middle of its regular season. The EPL regular season gets underway on Saturday, Aug. 14.

In other news involving former Irish stars currently in the MLS, world-renowned player Thierry Henry has joined 2005 Notre Dame graduate Kevin Goldthwaite on the New York Red Bulls. Henry was on France’s roster for four World Cups, including the title run in 1998 and this year’s tournament in South Africa. He is a two-time runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year voting. Henry has excelled in the professional ranks with Arsenal (EPL) and Barcelona (La Liga in Spain).

— ND —