Matt Besler ('09) was a first-team All-America defender at Notre Dame and has gone on to further success in both Major League Soccer (with Sporting Kansas City) and with the U.S. National Team (at the 2014 FIFA World Cup).

Monogram Club Turns 100: Men's Soccer

Sept. 30, 2015

Monogram Club Turns 100: Men’s Soccer Photo Gallery

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Notre Dame Monogram Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015-16. In honor of reaching the century mark, Fighting Irish Media is presenting a look at some of the top student-athletes in each Notre Dame sport. Today we salute the Fighting Irish men’s soccer team, a proud program with a rich and distinguished tradition that includes a ride to the top of the college soccer mountain as the 2013 NCAA champion. We recognize the significant contributions of all of our student-athletes in all of our Fighting Irish sports and realize the following list, while noteworthy, is not all-inclusive.

Matt Besler (’09) – Defender (2005-08) – Overland Park, Kansas
2009 Byron V. Kanaley Award
2008 NSCAA All-America First Team
2008 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player
2008 BIG EAST Conference First Team
2006 and 2007 BIG EAST Second Team

Besler competed in 90 games during his Notre Dame career, the second-most match appearances in Irish program history, and notched 73 career starts. He was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America first team and NSCAA Scholar All-America first team in 2008 after starting all 21 Notre Dame games that season, scoring one goal and adding one assist while anchoring seven shutouts on the Irish defense. Besler is a four-time professional all-star, after being drafted eighth overall by the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City) in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He has also become a regular contributor for the United States National Team, highlighted by four starts on the U.S. back line during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Greg Dalby (’07) – Midfielder/Defender (2003-06) – Poway, California
2007 Byron V. Kanaley Award
2005 and 2006 NSCAA All-America First Team
2005 Soccer Times All-America First Team
2005 College Soccer News All-America First Team
2006 College Soccer News All-America Second Team
2005 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player
2003 Soccer America Freshman All-America
2003 College Soccer News All-Freshman Team
2006 BIG EAST Conference Midfielder of the Year
2005 and 2006 BIG EAST First Team
2004 BIG EAST Second Team

Dalby was the first player in the history of the Notre Dame men’s soccer program to be named a multi-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) first team selection, earning the distinction in 2005 and 2006. He was also the first player to be chosen for three different All-America first teams (NSCAA, Soccer Times and College Soccer News in 2005) in the same season. Dalby began his career as a central defender before becoming a stalwart in the central midfield for the Irish, helping to lead Notre Dame to the 2003 BIG EAST Championship and four NCAA Championship appearances.

Joseph Lapira (’08) – Forward (2004-07) – Lake Charles, Louisiana
2006 MAC Hermann Trophy Award
2006 and 2007 NSCAA All-America First Team
2006 Soccer America Player of the Year
2006 and 2007 Soccer America Most Valuable Player
2006 College Soccer News All-America First Team
2007 College Soccer News All-America Second Team
2006 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player
2006 BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Year
2006 and 2007 BIG EAST First Team
2005 BIG EAST Third Team

Lapira became the first Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy winner and unanimous All-American in Notre Dame men’s soccer history by being tabbed to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) first team in 2006, scoring 22 goals and adding six assists (50) in 23 games. Lapira remains the only Irish men’s soccer player to receive the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is presented to the top player in Division I soccer. Lapira is one of two multi-time NSCAA first team All-Americans in Notre Dame history (Greg Dalby, 2005-06), and is ranked fifth on the all-time Notre Dame goals (41) and points (105) lists.

Kevin Lovejoy (’81) – Forward/Midfielder (1978-80) – Seattle, Washington
1981 Byron V. Kanaley Award
1980 Notre Dame Monogram Club Team Most Valuable Player
Notre Dame All-Time Goals and Points Leader
Notre Dame Single-Season Goals and Points Leader

Lovejoy scored 29 goals and added six assists for 63 total points during his first varsity season at Notre Dame in 1978, goal and point totals that have stood the test of time as the best single-season marks in program history. In fact, Lovejoy has the top two single-season point performances in the Notre Dame record book, contributing 22 goals and 11 assists for 55 points in 1979. Lovejoy scored 67 goals in 73 career games, still the top career goal count in Irish history, and added 19 assists to establish the program benchmark of 153 points.

Randy Morris (’89) – Forward (1985-88) – Los Gatos, California
1988 NSCAA All-America Third Team
1988 Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player
1988 Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) Player of the Year
1988 MCC First Team

Morris earned the distinction of being the first All-American in Notre Dame men’s soccer history, claiming National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) third team honors in 1988. That season, Morris led Notre Dame in goals (14), assists (12) and points (40), helping guide the Irish to their first Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) tournament title and inaugural NCAA Championship appearance. Morris remains the Notre Dame career assists leader with 40, and is eighth on the career points list with 96 (28 goals, 40 assists in 84 games).

– Tony Jones, Athletics Communications Assistant