Dec. 3, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Patrick Hodan lets his work speak for itself.
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer midfielder isn’t one to boast or brag. Not that anyone would blame him if he did — there’s an impressive body of work from which to choose laudable accomplishments. That’s just not Hodan’s style.
A soft-spoken junior, Hodan has excelled both in the classroom and on the field, racking up an impressive array of honors. As a sophomore, he was second on the team in goals (11), assists (5) and points (27) and was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Second Team, the ACC All-Tournament Team, the NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region Third Team and the NCAA All-Tournament Team as the Irish captured the 2013 NCAA Championship. As a freshman, Hodan was included on the BIG EAST All-Rookie team and, this season, he was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year while leading the squad in goals (9) and points (21). On Tuesday, he was named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy honoring the national player of the year.
But to hear Hodan tell it, those aren’t the achievements he necessarily sets out to accomplish. In fact, when it comes to soccer, individual goal-setting is not much of a priority, and that’s as much Hodan’s attitude as it is the culture of the team he joined when he first stepped on campus.
“I really don’t have too many goals when it comes to soccer aside from the team goal of winning the national championship,” he says. “As [head coach Bobby Clark] always says, any individual award is really a team award and I think that really holds true.”
Rather, Hodan prefers to set individual benchmarks in his academic life. And it’s paid off. With a 3.932 GPA as a finance major in the Mendoza College of Business, Hodan is now a two-time Academic All-American, earning first-team honors this season after garnering third-team honors in 2013. He was additionally named to the ACC All-Academic Team as a sophomore and was a BIG EAST Academic All-Star as a freshman.
Not that Hodan would admit to striving for Academic All-America honors, either. He simply identifies the kind of grades he wants to attain at the start of each semester. The rest, then, takes care of itself.
“In the back of my mind, I always thought it would be an honor to win (Academic All-America honors), but I never really had it as a set goal,” Hodan says. “I never really thought it would happen. I’ve just been trying to do the best I can in school and on the field and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it’s not a big deal.”
Despite his differing approaches to his athletic and academic endeavors, a common thread runs between them: Hodan’s superstitious nature. He’ll be the first to admit his proclivity for superstition, and his rituals are often the same whether there is a big test ahead or a game looming.
“On test days I always wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt, something that’s comfortable and the same thing on game day,” Hodan says. “”I have a specific way I do things once I get to the locker room. For example, I like to shower at a certain time and then put clothes on in a certain order and then the night before every home game I like to get ice cream [at Reckers or Kilwin’s].”
It’s a quality Hodan says comes from his father, also Patrick. On the youth soccer circuit, the elder Hodan would park in the same parking space with every win, and often wore a lucky hat but, says the younger Hodan, “I guess I kind of took that [tendency] and maybe took it a step further.”
Whatever it is, it seems to be working. And the future looks bright no matter what Hodan decides to pursue. His dedication in the classroom is about self-improvement and setting himself up for life after college and soccer. But with the success he’s had on the field, that time could still be a long way off.
“Patrick has the ability to freeze defenses and he knows when to shift up a gear and when to shift down. He’s very good at that. He’s always looking to penetrate and looking to take a shot or make a killer pass,” says Clark. “He makes good decisions in the final third (of the field) and he makes things happen in the final third. Those are the players that go for a lot of money in the professional game. They are the game-changers and he certainly is a game-changer.”
— Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant