Feb. 19, 2004
The University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team has announced the signing of seven players to letters of intent to begin school next fall and play soccer for the Fighting Irish. The freshman class of 2004 will feature midfielder/central defender Andrew Benton (Marietta, Ga.), fullback John Cavanaugh (Granger Ind.), midfielder Kyle Dulworth (Fort Wayne, Ind.), forward/midfielder Joe Lapira (Lake Charles, La.), forward/midfielder Kurt Martin (McAllen, Texas), midfielder/defender John Mousinho (Buckinghamshire, England) and midfielder/defender Alex Yoshinaga (San Diego, Calif.).
“This is a really solid class that we are very excited about,” Irish head coach Bobby Clark says.
“Every one of the players has been to our elite camp and we saw them for five days. We are very comfortable with all of them as people and as players. We see this class as every bit as strong as last year’s group, which was the fourth-best in the country.”
The class is represented by five different states and England and has a number of individuals capable of playing numerous positions. Among the class is a local product (Cavanaugh) and the English Schoolboys National Team Captain (Mousinho). The incoming class of 2004 is also unique in that each player attended Notre Dame’s elite summer camp, giving the Irish coaching staff an opportunity to get to know each player, while each student-athlete was able to visit Notre Dame at the same time.
* Andrew Benton will come to Notre Dame out of Kell High School in Marietta, Ga. He scored 30 goals and tallied 11 assists during his junior season and was an all-county and all-state selection. Benton also was named the team captain and MVP. He helped his club team, United Quest Red 84 to state championships in 2000 and 2003 while leading the team in assists. He has been a member of the 1985 (age group) Region III Team the last four seasons.
“I am more than excited about being able to play for Notre Dame and getting a chance to play under Coach Clark,” Benton says.
“The coaches, players and people at Notre Dame are truly first class.”
“Andrew has the ability to play as a central defender or central midfielder,” Clark says.
“He is strong and tough. Andrew is a quality player.”
* John Cavanaugh is the second straight South Bend St. Joseph’s graduate to sign on to play at Notre Dame, following in current freshman Brian Murphy’s steps. Cavanaugh was named the Northern Indiana Player of the Year in 2003 while helping St. Joseph’s to the state title and earning all-state honors as well. Cavanaugh also was a member of the Junior Irish club team.
“John is a local lad we watched many times with the Junior Irish and St. Joseph’s,” Clark says.
“He has explosive speed and is very tough and hard nosed. He is someone who can develop into a first-rate fullback in our system.”
* Kyle Dulworth hails from near by Fort Wayne, Ind., and played for Homestead High School and the Citadel 86 Soccer Club. A first-team all-conference selection as a junior and senior, Dulworth helped keep Homstead in the state top 20 for four consecutive years and landed on the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association All-Academic squad in 2002 and 2003.
“When Kyle came to camp we realized what a good technical player he is,” Clark says.
“He is two-footed and has the ability to cross a ball with either foot. He is one of those players that makes the game look simple.”
Dulworth appeared on several developmental teams including the Fort Wayne Fever, the USASA Men’s Midwest Regional Team and the Indiana ODP state team.
“Notre Dame has an excellent academic and athletic reputation,” Dulworth says.
“I am really looking forward to being a part of the University.”
* Joe Lapira calls Lake Charles, La., home and played for Saint Louis Catholic and the Cajun Burn. He helped Saint Louis to the 2003 Division III state title in ’03 and earned a spot on the NSCAA/adidas high school All-America team. Lapira also was a part of four straight state championships with the Cajun Burn.
“The recruiting season put a lot of pressure on my shoulders,” Lapira says.
“But signing with Notre Dame made all the work worthwhile.”
“Joe is a very fast, hard-nosed striker,” Clark says.
“He is somebody that can give us good speed in the front line.”
* Kurt Martin comes out of McAllen, Texas, and Memorial High School. He also is highly active with the Houston Texans club team and was a member of the Texas state and regional teams.
“Kurt can play up front for us or he can play as an attacking midfielder,” Clark says.
“He has a great first touch and excellent field vision. He makes things happen in the attacking end. Kurt was one of the smartest players I saw in my recruiting travels this year.”
* John Mousinho will bring a bit more international flavor to the Irish team next fall. The captain of the English Schoolboys National Team (Under-18), Moushino is out of Dr. Challeners Grammar School in England and a member of the Chesham United club team.
“John is technically very good for a big player,” Clark says.
“He is a strong central midfielder who can play the game. He also has good organizing and leadership skills.”
* Alex Yoshinaga is a native of San Diego, Calif., and played for Granite Hills High School and his club team, the Nomads. He helped Granite Hills win the CIF Championship in 2001, ’02 and ’03 while the team compiled a San Diego-area record 66 game win streak.
“Alex has very good skill with the ball,” Clark says.
“He has a great ability to strike a ball and play passes. He is one of the best young players I have seen at set pieces and free kicks.” While Yoshinaga was at Granite Hills, his team won 94 games against just four losses. Among his individual accomplishments, Yoshinaga set the Grossmont School District record for assists in a season during the 2003 campaign.
“I’m excited about joining the team and playing for Bobby Clark,” Yoshinaga says.
“I love being a part of such a great school with all of its traditions.”