Aug. 23, 1999
By Alan Wasielewski
Notre Dame goalkeeper Gerick Short has endured his share of frustrations over the last four years. The fifth-year player and team captain relishes the opportunity that presents itself this season, the chance to be the starting goalkeeper for the Irish men’s soccer team.
Injuries and a lack of playing time have curtailed a career into just one season for Short. He has not seen significant playing time since his freshman season in 1995 when he played 221 minutes in five games, while earning two starts and making 14 saves. As a rookie, he was the backup to another first-year player Greg Velho, who would be Notre Dame’s starting goalie over the next four seasons and finish as the school’s career shutout leader.
As a sophomore in 1996, he played in just one contest and did not play see any playing time during the 1997 campaign. Looking to reestablish himself in the mix a year ago, misfortune put a hold on Short’s plans for the 1988 campaign when he severely separated his shoulder in preseason workouts. Reconstructive surgery shortly followed leaving Short once again with the prospect of having to watch from the sidelines.
“Last year was so much harder than sitting out in ’97,” Short says. “I was very much removed from the team. I would go to practices and try to be around, but with my arm in a sling, there really wasn’t much for me to do.”
Along with the physical strain of the shoulder injury, Short also had to deal with the mental strain of another year on the sidelines.
“It was hard mentally because I sat out the whole year before,” Short says. “I was prepared to come back. I understood that Greg (Velho) was going to play a lot, but I also understood I was going to get some playing time too. It was another year taken away, and that is what hurt the most.”
Short would find a bright side to the 1998 season. Away from the rigors of playing a sport in college, he was able to relax and experience a different side of college life.
“Any sport in college is like a job,” Short says. “If practice is at four, then you better expect to be out there by three-thirty warming up so that when Coach gets there, you are ready to start. Practice usually ends at six, and then following that, we may be required to do a half-four of weight training. Then after dinner its time to study. There is a real discipline to all of this. The upside of the injury was that I got to relax and experience a little more of the college life.”
Short used all of last fall and the winter months to rehabilitate his shoulder. With the graduation of Velho, it left him as the only goalkeeper during spring workouts, and the only one on the depth chart heading into the fall with game experience. He will be challenged this season by three highly regarded freshmen, Greg Tait, Cole Straub and John Moore.
As a testament to his hard work and dedication, he teammates selected him the lone captain for the ’99 season.
“It came as a surprise,” Short says. “I voted for two or three other guys who have displayed a lot of heart over the three year and also wanted nothing but the best for this team. After having to cheer from the sidelines last year, I thought I could be a leader. Being named captain was quite unexpected.”
Notre Dame head coach Mike Berticelli is confident in his senior leader.
“Gerick is the leader and captain of this team,” Berticelli says. “He knows what he has to do. No one has worked harder for the opportunity than Gerick. He has the potential to be a dominating goalie for us.”
Short has embraced his new position as the team leader. Heading into his final season, he has established a clear goal for himself and senior teammates.
“When the season is over I want the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to look at the senior class and say that their leadership set the tone for the rest of their time at Notre Dame. I want to leave a tradition that will carry on for years to come.”