In what’s quickly becoming an annual tradition at Alumni Stadium, the Notre Dame department of athletics and the Monogram Club recognized a former Fighting Irish men’s soccer student-athlete Friday night for being named to the Major League Soccer All-Star Team.

For the first time since graduating in 2010, San Jose Earthquake defender Justin Morrow returned to campus and was honored during halftime of the men’s soccer team’s match against Oregon State. Morrow made his way to midfield with Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter, who presented the Cleveland, Ohio, native with a framed collage showcasing his career with the Fighting Irish.

“It’ been a pretty special day for me,” Morrow said. “As soon as I stepped foot on campus, a big smile came across my face. To come back and be honored like this – it’s been a very emotional experience.”

In July, Morrow was named a Major League Soccer (MLS) All-Star and was the starting left back for the MLS squad that defeated Chelsea from the English Premier League, 3-2. Morrow is the only Earthquake to play every minute on the pitch so far this season. He has one goal and two assists in 26 games for San Jose, who currently is in first place in the Western Conference.

“It was unbelievable to represent my team at the All-Star game,” Morrow said. “Playing against Chelsea was pretty cool, but for me the best part was meeting all the MLS guys. I’ve always admired [Thierry] Henry, so it was incredible to meet him and all of the other players.”

Morrow becomes the second Monogram winner to make the MLS team, as Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler (’09) was named an All-Star during the 2011 campaign. Besler returned to campus during the 2011 season and was recognized during Notre Dame’s game versus Connecticut.

During his extraordinary career with the Fighting Irish, Morrow appeared in 89 career matches, including 64 starts, and earned four monograms from 2006-09. He tallied 21 career points on seven goals and seven assists, and he helped Notre Dame to two BIG EAST regular-season titles and four straight NCAA tournament appearances, including trips to the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007.

Morrow was an Irish team captain as a senior and earned second-team all-BIG EAST honors that season. The Cleveland, Ohio, native also was a two-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star. Morrow graduated from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in May of 2010 with a degree in finance.

The Earthquakes selected Morrow in the second round (28th overall pick) of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.

“During my career at Notre Dame, I learned to mature as a man,” Morrow said. “Boss [head coach Bobby Clark] and my teammates taught me so many life lessons. I grew up here and learned how to be a better person. I’ve utilized a lot of those lessons during my professional career.”

— ND —