Dec. 12, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior defender Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) has been named to the 2008 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Division I All-America first team. Besler becomes the eighth All-American in program history and the fourth to garner first-team honors.
Besler, a central defender, played every minute this season and helped the Irish post seven shutouts along with tallying three points on a goal and an assist. The two-time team captain helped Notre Dame register a 12-7-2 record this season and earn the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish notched a 7-2-2 league mark and captured their second straight BIG EAST regular-season title.
The Kansas product also earned his third straight all-conference honor as he was named to the all-BIG EAST first team. In addition, Besler was one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. During the season, he was named to both the College Soccer News (Sept. 8) and Soccer America (Oct. 14) national teams of the week. He was tabbed as the BIG EAST defensive player of the week on Oct. 13.
Last month, Besler copped Academic All-America honors from ESPN the Magazine and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Besler is the first player in program history to be a first-team All-American and an Academic All-American. He is just the second student-athlete in the history of Notre Dame men’s soccer to garner both All-America and Academic All-America honors in the same season. Ryan Miller received the distinction last year.
For his career, Besler played in 90 games, including 73 starts. He started every match over the past three seasons and only missed one game during his collegiate career. Besler totaled 17 points on five goals and seven assists in an Irish uniform. He helped Notre Dame gain four straight berths to the NCAA Championship, including the program’s first two trips to the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007.
Notre Dame has produced an NSCAA All-American in each of the past six seasons and a first-team member for five straight campaigns. Last year, Joseph Lapira received first-team honors for the second straight season, while Miller was a second-team choice.
Rounding out the 2008 NSCAA/adidas All-America first team are Jovan Bubonja (Jr., GK, Illinois-Chicago), Calum Angus (Sr., D, Saint Louis), Omar Gonzalez (Jr., D, Maryland), Tennant McVea (Jr., D, Loyola-Md.), Corben Bone (So., M, Wake Forest), Sam Cronin (Sr., M, Wake Forest), Andrei Gotsmanov (Sr., M, Creighton), Baggio Husidic (Jr., M, Illinois-Chicago), Andre Akpan (Jr., F, Harvard), Mike Grella (Sr., F, Duke), Marcus Tracy (Sr., F, Wake Forest) and Steve Zakuani (So., F, Akron).
NOTRE DAME MEN'S SOCCER NSCAA ALL-AMERICANSName Position Year(s) TeamRandy Morris F 1988 Third TeamTony Capasso M 1996 Third TeamJustin Detter M/F 2003 Third TeamChris Sawyer GK 2004 First TeamGreg Dalby M/D 2005 First Team 2006 First TeamJoseph Lapira F 2006 First Team 2007 First TeamRyan Miller M/D 2007 Second TeamMatt Besler D 2008 First Team