Aug. 20, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team will hold its annual match to benefit Grassroot Soccer on Monday when the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish take to the Alumni Stadium pitch against No. 6 Creighton. The exhibition showdown is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET). Admission to the game is $1 and further donations are welcome.
Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is an international non-governmental organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities against the spread of HIV. To date, GRS has educated 400,000 young Africans in HIV prevention towards a goal of one million youth by World Cup 2014.
GRS has a special connection to Notre Dame soccer as Dr. Tommy Clark, the eldest son of Irish head coach Bobby Clark, founded the organization. This marks the eighth season that the Fighting Irish have held a match to benefit GRS. Donations will be collected at the gate and the Notre Dame men’s soccer camp will match the proceeds dollar-for-dollar.
“This is a special game every year for me,” says Bobby Clark. “Tommy has put his life into this charity. He is using soccer to help to try to eradicate HIV and AIDS in Africa. This should also be a great game because Creighton is one of the best teams in the country. It’ll be a great test for us. Hopefully we can have another terrific crowd and get a lot of donations for a very worthy cause.”
The Fighting Irish head coach, who is entering his 11th season on the Notre Dame sidelines, is familiar with the areas that are getting hit hard by HIV. Bobby was the Director of Coaching for the Bulawayo Highlanders in the Zimbabwean Super League during the 1983-84 season.
“Tommy was about 13 when I coached in Zimbabwe and after he graduated as an undergraduate from Dartmouth, he went back to Zimbabwe and many of the youngsters that were on his team had died from HIV and I think that made a big impact on him,” states Bobby Clark. “When Tommy went back to medical school at Dartmouth, he was asked to do a project to help the public at large and he conjured up this idea of how soccer could help educate young Africans with life skills. Grassroot Soccer grew out of that. Since it (GRS) has grown so much, he’s not doing as much pediatrics any more, he’s doing a lot of fundraising and a lot of work in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Log onto grassrootsoccer.org for more information on Grassroot Soccer.
The Fighting Irish opened their 2011 exhibition slate on Tuesday with two games at Xavier. A team comprised of younger Irish players topped the Musketeers 1-0 in a 50-minute contest. Sophomore midfielder Kyle Craft scored the game winner for the Irish.
In the nightcap, a more veteran Irish squad took to the pitch and tied Xavier 1-1. Senior defender Aaron Maund netted the equalizer with 90 seconds remaining in the 90-minute match.
Notre Dame won at Butler, 2-1, on Thursday in exhibition play. The Irish fell behind in the 13th minute but they responded as senior midfielder Adam Mena netted the equalizer in the 27th minute. Junior forward Danny O’Leary scored the game winner in the 69th minute.
Sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Wall played all of the Butler match and the entire second game versus Xavier.
Notre Dame will open the regular season Aug. 27 with a home showdown against instate rival Indiana. The Irish and the 15th-ranked Hoosiers will square off at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Alumni Stadium.
All 2011 Notre Dame home matches, including the Creighton contest, not televised can be seen live on UND.com. The streaming broadcasts are free of charge. Log on to UND.com to stay up to date on the Fighting Irish men’s soccer team throughout the 2011 campaign.
To purchase a season pass or single-game tickets for Fighting Irish soccer, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the tickets page at the official Notre Dame athletics web site, UND.com (UND.com/tickets) or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows inside the new Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion (entrance via Gate 9). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on gamedays. For group discount pricing information call Rita Baxter in the Notre Dame Ticket Office at (574) 631-4165.