March 2, 2017
by Tony Jones
2017 SPRING SCHEDULE NOW ADDED
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Spring might be taking its time to fully descend on campus, but the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team is hard at work in preparation for the upcoming 2017 spring match schedule. The Irish will face a total of nine outside opponents during their spring slate, highlighted by an annual showdown with Mexico at the end of April at Alumni Stadium.
Notre Dame begins its spring draw on March 16 at 2 p.m. (ET) against the Bethlehem Steel of the United Soccer League (USL) in Philadelphia. The match, Notre Dame’s annual spring clash with a professional side, will mark the first time the Irish have ever taken on a club from the USL. The Steel earned 28 points in the Eastern Conference of the USL in 2016, and top attackers Cory Burke (four goals, two assists) and James Chambers (three goals, team-high four assists) are expected back in the 2017 Bethlehem lineup.
The Irish open the collegiate portion of the spring schedule on March 25 in Pontiac, Michigan, facing Michigan State (12:20 p.m.) and Oakland (1:55 p.m.) at the indoor Ultimate Soccer Arenas complex. Notre Dame most recently met Michigan State during the 2016 regular season (a 1-0 Spartan victory on Oct. 25), while the Irish and Oakland battled to a 1-1 exhibition draw last March in Pontiac.
A pair of matches at Notre Dame’s old Alumni Field on April 1 will pit the Irish against DePaul (2:30 p.m.) and Western Michigan (4:15 p.m.). Notre Dame claimed a 1-0 win over DePaul at old Alumni Field in a 2016 spring meeting, dropping a 2-0 decision later in the day to Western Michigan on April 2 of last year.
Notre Dame and Indiana will renew their intrastate rivalry on April 8 at D’Arcy Stadium in Fort Wayne, taking the pitch at 7 p.m. as part of the Shindigz National Soccer Festival. The Irish and Hoosiers have met in Fort Wayne each of the last seven years, and Notre Dame blanked Indiana 4-0 on Oct. 4 of last year at Alumni Stadium in the most recent meeting between the teams.
A doubleheader will cap the collegiate foes on the 2017 Notre Dame spring schedule on April 22, with the Irish opening against Bethel (Indiana) at 10 a.m. A second Notre Dame squad will be in action later that evening at 7 p.m. against Kentucky at Grand Park in Indianapolis.
All spring matchups will set the stage for what has become one of the most popular events on the Notre Dame soccer calendar each year. The Irish and the Mexico Under-20 National Team will collide on April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Notre Dame is 4-2-1 all-time against the Mexico U-20 side dating back to the first meeting between the teams in 2007.
More information about Notre Dame’s April 28 game against Mexico will follow.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.