June 21, 2017
by Tony Jones
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team will face eight teams that qualified for last season’s NCAA Championship during the 2017 regular season. Headlined by 2016 NCAA Men’s College Cup qualifier North Carolina and seven other Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) contests, the Irish are set for a 17-game slate in the regular season as part of the 2017 campaign.
Not counting its three exhibition contests, Notre Dame will host a total of nine games this season on campus at Alumni Stadium. The Irish take to the road eight different times during the 2017 regular season.
Notre Dame Head Coach Bobby Clark
Overall Nonconference Schedule Outlook
“There are a number of top teams in the ACC, so every game in the ACC is a great test and a fun game to be a part of. Then you throw in Indiana (Sept. 26; Bloomington, Indiana), Northwestern (Oct. 3; Alumni Stadium), Michigan State (Oct. 24; East Lansing, Michigan) and Michigan (Oct. 10; Alumni Stadium), very good teams out of the Big Ten, and another challenging team out of the Midwest in Bowling Green (Sept. 19; Alumni Stadium). That bulk of games themselves are a real test, and without playing anyone else these games prepare you for the NCAA tournament. There’s also UConn (Sept. 2; Storrs, Connecticut), our big foe when we were in the BIG EAST and still one of the top teams in the country, and a phenomenal team in Akron (Oct. 17; Akron, Ohio), two very difficult games on the road. Both great challenges for our players.”
Scheduling A Challenging Regular Season To Maximize Team Potential
“We are always looking for a competitive schedule and the best teams. (For instance) UConn came here last year so we are returning that game, and Akron will come here in 2018, so these are good games against teams in other conferences that give you a feel for where we are. First-class opponents top to bottom, all well-coached, it should make for a fun season. Wherever I’ve been, I’ve always looked for the best teams we can play. You never look for easy games because there is no such thing, that’s a fallacy especially in men’s college soccer. We look to challenge ourselves every time we go on the field.”
Importance Of Preseason Schedule Carrying Into Berticelli Tournament
“We have some great preseason games as well, where we go to Omaha (Aug. 13; Omaha, Nebraska), who is a nice rising program. It will be a good game played in front of a big crowd. Drake (Aug. 16; Des Moines, Iowa), we went there a few years ago and played both Creighton and Drake in the preseason. Of course, at home with Valparaiso (Aug. 21; Alumni Stadium), head coach Mike Avery is one of our former assistants who has done a tremendous job down at Valpo. These will be three very good games that will give us a look at everyone and get us ready for the opening Mike Berticelli Tournament against San Diego (Aug. 25; Alumni Stadium) and Cal Poly (Aug. 27; Alumni Stadium). That’s always a fun tournament alongside Indiana. When you play 17 regular season games, plus three scrimmages, you want to make them as good and fun for the guys as you can.”
The ACC Home Schedule
“Duke (Oct. 20; Alumni Stadium) has always been a tough game, they actually beat us down there last year with a last-minute goal at the end of overtime for a tough loss. We did come back and beat them in overtime during the ACC tournament, another hard-fought game. Virginia (Sept. 29; Alumni Stadium), Duke, Pittsburgh (Oct. 13; Alumni Stadium) who is getting better each year, and NC State (Sept. 15; Alumni Stadium) is also a tough opponent. There are no easy games there at all, but that’s what we enjoy.”
The ACC Road Schedule
“We don’t have Wake Forest this year as a road game but you’ve got Clemson (Oct. 6; Clemson, South Carolina), which is going to be a hard game. Boston College (Sept. 8; Newton, Massachusetts), our last time there in 2013 we tied the Eagles 1-1. Virginia Tech (Sept. 22; Blacksburg, Virginia) made a strong run last year in the NCAAs. We end the whole thing at North Carolina (Oct. 27; Chapel Hill, North Carolina), they are always an excellent squad. Each of these games are all great challenges, that’s for sure.”
The Next Chapter Of The Notre Dame-Indiana Rivalry
“Two years ago we played Indiana at the Hoosiers’ home tournament and last year of course we won the matchup here at Alumni Stadium. We have talked about playing a regular season game as a neutral at Grand Park in Indianapolis, which would be a great idea and draw a large crowd of soccer fans from within the state. Having Indiana here to play us every second year is a game that not only local IU fans will attend, but it also gives our fans the chance to be a part of that rivalry. We’ve talked about moving it to a neutral site, but it would be cheating each of our fans out of a very good home game every two years. Bloomington is a great place for our guys to go, and it’s a good test for them.”
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.