March 7, 2005
South Bend-area soccer fans will be treated to a special doubleheader at Alumni Field on the night of Friday, April 22, as the Notre Dame women’s and men’s soccer teams will take on Mexico national-team squads in what promises to be another festive night of spring soccer. The Irish women’s team, just months removed from its national championship season, will face the full Mexican Women’s National Team for the fifth straight spring (at 6:00 p.m. EST), followed by the Notre Dame men vs. Mexico’s highly-regarded Under-17 National Team (at approximately 7:45).
Tickets for the doubleheader go on sale tomorrow (March 8) at the Joyce Center ticket office, with phone orders accepted at (574) 631-7356. The $5 adult ticket and $2 ticket for youth gain admission to both games, with Notre Dame students admitted free of charge. Fans are encouraged to make advance purchases, thus avoiding the ticket lines on the night of the game and ensuring a seat for an event that could be an advanced sellout (additional bleachers may be installed to handle the potential overflow crowd).
The Mexican Women’s National Team – which is captained by former Notre Dame standout defender Monica Gonzalez and includes recent Notre Dame signee Becca Mendoza among its midfield unit – is one of the world’s top emerging teams and reached the quarterfinals of the 2004 Olympic Games. Mexico’s Under-17 National Team also is considered one of the world’s top teams in its age group and recently qualified for the 2005 Under-17 World Championship.
“We have developed a great relationship with the Mexican soccer team during the past five years but this doubleheader just takes things to another level,” said Notre Dame women’s soccer head coach Randy Waldrum.
“Fans who come to these games will get to see two elite college soccer teams going head-to-head with the Mexican teams that show such great flair in their style of play. It will be a wonderful night of soccer for this community and I know that our teams are very excited and proud to be a part of it.”
Notre Dame men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark – whose team recently played the U.S. Under-17 squad – likewise anticipates a unique night at Alumni Field on April 22.
“Soccer in Mexico is almost like a religion and their teams play on the level of highest quality. Their players are very strong technically and you can’t get higher quality games. For soccer fans in the South Bend area, this is a night that they don’t want to miss.
The Notre Dame women’s soccer team’s spring schedule includes seven other exhibition games that are free of charge and open to the public (see men’s soccer site for earlier release on their spring season, which already has begun). The Irish will open their spring competition on Sat., March 19, versus the University of Illinois at Nazareth High School in Chicago before playing host to Toledo (10:00 a.m.) and Michigan State (4:00) on Sat., April 2, with those games to be played on a field to-be-determined (either the West Quad field, located near the Notre Dame bookstore, or at St. Mary’s College).
The Irish women also will play two home exhibitions at the Eck Stadium practice field on Sunday, April 10, versus Dayton (9:00 a.m.) and Western Michigan (4:00 p.m.) before taking on Miami of Ohio on Friday, April 15, at Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis (7:00 p.m.).
An alumni game featuring former Notre Dame women’s soccer greats also will be played at Alumni Field on Sat., April 23 (11:00 a.m.), corresponding with an on-campus reunion weekend for the 1995 NCAA championship team.
The Notre Dame women defeated Mexico in their first three spring matchups: 2-1 in 2001 (at South Bend’s School Field), 3-2 in ’02 (at Alumni Field) and 3-1 in ’03 (again at Alumni Field). Mexico then won a hard-fought game in the 2004 matchup, 3-2.
The Mexican Women’s National Team, which was founded in 1998, steadily has grown into a contender on the international soccer scene and reached the quarterfinal round of the 2004 Olympic Games (after knocking off Canada to join the U.S. with the region’s two Olympic berths). Originally founded on a core of U.S. college players who held Mexican ancestry (including former Notre Dame players Gonzalez and Monica Gerardo), the team has begun to develop a homegrown base of players who are considered some of the more dynamic competitors among the world’s young players.
Notre Dame is enjoying the benefits of a mostly healthy and deep squad this spring. Check back to und.com for a final wrapup of the team’s 2004 awards and a preview of the ’05 spring season.