Jan. 5, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A third University of Notre Dame men’s soccer representative has been added to the talent pool that will take part in the 2016 adidas MLS Player Combine. Connor Klekota (Amherst, Ohio), who served as a senior tri-captain in 2015 alongside fellow professional prospects Patrick Hodan (Brookfield, Wisconsin) and Max Lachowecki (Evansville, Indiana), was one of six additions to the combine invitee list earlier this week, bringing the total number of players to 60 who will be in attendance at the pro soccer showcase.
All 60 players invited to the 2016 adidas MLS Player Combine will have the opportunity to compete in front of all 20 MLS coaching staffs during three doubleheaders on Jan. 8, Jan. 10 and Jan. 12 at Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 2016 MLS SuperDraft is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Baltimore, Maryland. Notre Dame has had 24 players selected in the MLS SuperDraft since 2004, including eight first round choices.
Klekota, Hodan and Lachowecki will each compete for Team Chaos during the MLS combine. The 2015 Irish tri-captains represent the most players from the same college club that were assigned to any of the four combine rosters for the 2016 event.
Klekota started a career-high 22 games in the Notre Dame midfield during the 2015 season, scoring two goals and adding one assist to the Irish attack. He connected on two of his six total shots on goal during his senior campaign, notching tallies in the goal column against UAB (Sept. 6) and Virginia (Sept. 25) while logging an assist in a nonconference match at Michigan State on Sept. 22.
Klekota finished his Notre Dame career with four goals and eight assists (16 points) in 66 career appearances, which included 50 starts in the Irish eleven. He was a key contributor on the 2013 NCAA champion Notre Dame team as a sophomore, seeing action in all 24 games (14 starts) that season while chipping in a goal and three assists. In addition to the national championship victory during his first official collegiate season, Klekota was a member of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular-season champion (2014) and co-champion (2013) squads during the program’s first two seasons as a league member.
A December 2015 graduate with a degree in management consulting from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Klekota was one of four recipients of the 2015 Francis Patrick O’Connor award, given to student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame on their respective teams. He was tabbed to the 2014-15 ACC Academic Honor Roll and was a 2012 BIG EAST Academic All-Star.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant 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 at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.