Dec. 15, 2013
Head Coach Bobby Clark
“Obviously, I think we’re all smiling big smiles. We’re very happy with the result. I thought it was a very hard-fought game. Any team coached by [Maryland head coach] Sasho Cirovski is going to be up for the fight. It wasn’t the prettiest game; I think it’s hard to play two games of that intensity in a period of two or three days, but I thought both teams put in a good shift. I know our guys worked terribly hard; I think the last 10 minutes, we were certainly working very hard.
When we lost our big striker [Vince Cicciarelli] with a broken collarbone, that was a blow, but Leon Brown came in and got the equalizing goal. We went behind, and that was definitely a blow, but we equalized fairly quickly, and that was Leon that did that.
Andrew O’Malley stuck that goal away…he missed a few all season, I can tell you, but he saved that goal for the right time. It was a great goal. it would have been nice, we’d had a couple of chance to make it 3-1 just after that, but we somehow scorned these and I think they just tried to add to my gray hairs.
All in all, it was a great win for us against a very good team, and it finishes off the season very nicely for us.”
On where this championship ranks in his career:
“It’s unbelievable. This is right up there with any championship I’ve ever won. I think this has been, I imagine, a dream of the teams…I don’t think you judge yourself purely on championships. I think you’ve got to be very careful with that…To get a championship, a lot of things have to come together.
On how easy it was to work with this year’s team:
“A lot of years I’ve had to coach, it’s been harder work coaching than this year. It’s such a good group of kids this year. It wasn’t hard work working with this group.”
On his team’s senior leadership:
“Senior leadership is so important to any team. We work a lot on leadership, we work on that in the spring. We have a sports psychologist, Dr. Franco, and once a week he meets with the group and works with them on leadership, and obviously we do too…Seniors set the tone…Harry Shipp is a classic example of a kid that doesn’t say much, but it’s just who he is. He’s a tremendous student, he’s a tremendous player, and it’s just how he handles himself in everything he does. Andrew O’Malley, Grant [Van De Casteele]…three terrific guys. All superb young men.”
On when he started believing his team was capable of winning a championship:
“Last year’s team was capable…if we win that game [in the Round of 16 against Indiana in 2012], possibly we could go on and have won the national championship last year. Maybe, maybe not…I think last season was a successful season, but the guys just felt that they didn’t perform in the game against Indiana, and I think that was good inspiration to them. It was motivation for them. We’ve been knocking on the door [the last few years].”
On the quality of play across college soccer:
“It’s a good standard of soccer. Any time when we’ve taken teams abroad, we’ve more than coped with playing under-21 pro teams. The last three times I took teams – whether it be Dartmouth, Stanford, or Notre Dame – over to Scotland to play under-21 professional teams, we haven’t lost a game these three trips. We went to Brazil and more than held our own there. We went to Sweden and we were even playing first teams there. Our guys compete and play very good soccer…I think the standard of soccer in this country is very good. And obviously the better it is, we’re just a reflection of that, because we get the best youth players.”
Senior defender Andrew O’Malley
On what the team discussed after going down 1-0:
“As a team, one of the mantras we had was to respond to what happened during the game. Not everything is going to go your way as a team, so you try to make sure that you’re mentally strong enough to come back from something like that. Leon [Brown] came in and responded really well with a goal.”
On scoring the match-winning goal, and doing it in front of his home fans:
“I tried to get as many people as I knew to come out…I got as much of my family out [as I could]; I think they ran a tailgate, stuff like that. It was really good to get a goal in front of them. The goal itself was really put up on a silver platter for me; it would have been really tough to screw it up, I suppose. Harry [Shipp] played just a beautiful ball and all I had to do was re-direct it to the back post. [Maryland goalkeeper] Zack Steffen is really good so as soon as I saw it go off my head I was a little bit worried he was going to get across to it, but luckily it got to the back of the net.”
On winning Notre Dame’s first national championship:
“Being able to take the program from somewhere it’s never been, like an Elite Eight win, to a national championship win, is a huge jump. It’s euphoric.”
On the soccer culture at Notre Dame:
“Within your team, you can breed a culture of winning, and I think the last two years, our team has shown that, and the women’s team has obviously had that for a few years. The more we can take that from them, and hopefully they can take something from us, and hopefully we can make the entire school better.”
Senior forward Harrison Shipp
On winning Notre Dame and head coach Bobby Clark’s first national championship:
“I think this program has known for the last few years that we were heading in the right direction…we had a great regular season and we realized it was time for the program to take that next step, and we thought the only logical place to do that was to reach the final four and win a national championship. And to do it for our coach is amazing. I think he’s probably the most underappreciated college soccer coach in the country, in terms of lessons he teaches you on the field and off the field. I can tell you that I’m a much better person and player than I was three and a half years ago when I came in.”
On going out on top as a senior:
“It’s pretty awesome, to be honest. We experienced a lot of pain our first three years…we realized that if we wanted to make that next jump, it was all 30 guys on the team, not just the 11 that played or the 21 that dressed, but all 30 guys…I think we showed that over the past five games.”
On the soccer culture at Notre Dame:
“Seeing [the women’s team] win our freshman year, it almost makes you – I don’t know if `jealous’ is the right word – but it makes you want to experience that same feeling…I think witnessing that firsthand and the excitement of people watching on campus…I remember being in the dorms and everyone on campus was watching it, even if they didn’t follow women’s soccer throughout the whole year. I hope that people back on campus really followed us over the last five games, and especially here at the College Cup. I think that’s something that we wanted to strive for and hopefully reached.”