Michael Thomas, who is currently playing professionally in Sweden, garnered the two major awards at Saturday's banquet.

Irish Officially Conclude 2009 Season With Annual Awards Banquet

April 27, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s soccer team recently held its annual awards banquet and alumni weekend to celebrate yet another successful season. Several former players returned to campus and took part in the festivities, which included the official dedication of the new Alumni Stadium.

The weekend events began on Friday, April 23 with the Fighting Irish wrapping up their 2010 spring campaign with a 2-1 victory over the Mexico U-20 National Team in front of 2,737 fans at Alumni Stadium. Michael Rose (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) and Steven Perry (Edmond, Okla./Bishop McGuinness) tallied goals in the Notre Dame victory.

The official dedication of Alumni Stadium took place Saturday morning inside the state-of-the-art facility. Over 150 people, including both the men’s and women’s soccer teams, coaching staffs, alumni and parents, attended the ceremony. Speakers at the event included University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. along with former Fighting Irish men’s soccer players Tom Crotty (`80) and Rob Snyder (`84), who were the lead benefactors for the stadium.

“It really was a fantastic weekend and it started well against Mexico,” said Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark. “The dedication was terrific. It was great to get Tom Crotty and Rob Snyder back and to suitably recognize them. It also was great to have Father Jenkins there. It was a full house and that was very good.”

During the banquet on Saturday evening, senior midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) received the Monogram Club Team MVP award. Former Irish All-America goalkeeper Chris Sawyer (`05) presented the award to Michael’s parents since he currently is playing in Sweden. However, Thomas did express his thanks with a video message to the team and coaches. The central midfielder also garnered the Knute Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award, which is presented annually to the top student on the Fighting Irish squad. Mary Ann Spence, the academic advisor for the men’s soccer team, presented the honor.

Thomas earned first-team all-BIG EAST accolades in 2009 in addition to being named an Academic All-American and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-American. He also garnered All-Great Lakes Region honors for the second straight season. Thomas started every game during the 2009 campaign and notched a team-high six assists along with scoring six goals. He graduated in December with a degree in psychology.

Senior defender John Schaefer (Troy, Mich./Detroit Jesuit) received the Spirit Award. The award is presented annually to an inspirational member of the team. Presenting this year’s award was Kevin Richards, a Notre Dame soccer standout from 2000-03. Schaefer entered his senior campaign having played in only two matches, yet served a vital role during the 2009 season. In 2009, he started 22 of 23 matches and tallied two goals, while helping to anchor the Fighting Irish defense.

Luke Boughen, a 2005 Notre Dame graduate, garnered the Mike Berticelli `Bert’ Award, which was presented by Bruce Novotny, who played for the Irish from 1980-83. The award is named in honor of former Fighting Irish head coach Mike Berticelli, who suddenly passed away in 2000. Chris Apple, a former Irish head coach and assistant under Berticelli, spoke prior to Novotny and gave some background on the man the award is named after.

Boughen earned the award for making a film called Pelada, which is about `pick-up’ soccer matches all around the world. Both he and his fiancée Gwendolyn Oxenham toured 25 countries making the film, which illustrates how soccer can break down almost any conventional social barriers. A preview of the film can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B5WxyGkDao. Boughen could not attend Saturday’s festivities due law school obligations in California but he did send his thanks via a video message.

The banquet also featured videos commemorating the 2009 season and the departing senior class. The group of rising seniors also made a video thanking Crotty and Snyder for their generous donations that made Alumni Stadium a possibility.

The Fighting Irish concluded the 2009 season with an 11-8-4 record overall and an 8-3-0 mark in the BIG EAST. Notre Dame finished second in the BIG EAST Blue Division and the Irish were runners-up in the league’s postseason tournament. The Irish earned their ninth straight invitation to the NCAA Tournament and defeated Green Bay 2-1 in the first round before falling at Northwestern, 3-1, in the second round.

“The banquet closed up our 2009-10 season perfectly,” added Clark. “Now it’s all behind us and we’re now moving onto 2010-11.”

Notre Dame also enjoyed a successful spring season on the pitch. The Irish faced a challenging slate that will help them to prepare for the 2010 campaign. Here is the list of results from the spring …

Notre Dame Men's Soccer 2010 Spring SeasonColumbus Crew   L, 2-3 (Perry, Perry)Chicago Fire    cancelled (inclement weather)Michigan    T, 0-0Oakland         L, 0-1Butler          W, 2-0 (O'Leary, Samba)Valparaiso  W, 2-1 (Perry, Mena)Indiana*    T, 2-2 (ND won penalty kick shootout, 4-2) (Powers, Van De Casteele)Mexico U-20s    W, 2-1 (Rose, Perry)vs. Alumni  W, 3-1 (Richard, Richard, King)
* - match was played in front of 4,300 fans at Fort Wayne's (Ind.) Parkview Field, which is home to the Ft. Wayne TinCaps baseball team