Joseph Lapira (top) and Ryan Miller (bottom) were both taken in the third round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft.

Three Fighting Irish Players Earn All-Region Honors

Dec. 13, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three members of the Notre Dame men’s soccer team have been named All-Great Lakes Region performers by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Seniors Joseph Lapira (Lake Charles, La./Saint Louis Catholic) and Ryan Miller (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) were first-team selections, while junior Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) was named to the second team.

Lapira, the reigning M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner, led Notre Dame in goals (9), assists (10) and points (28) this season. For his career, Lapira had 41 goals and 105 points. Both of those totals rank him fifth in program history. The forward also has a program record six goals in NCAA Tournament play. Lapira was a unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST selection for the second straight season in addition to being named to the all-BIG EAST Championship squad. This marked his second all-region accolade.

Miller, a defender/midfielder, notched career-high totals in points (16) and goals (6) this season en route to garnering unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST honors. He was also named to the all-BIG EAST Championship team. This is his first all-region nod. Miller established a program record by playing in 89 consecutive matches, all starts. For his career, the Illinois native produced 25 points on seven goals and 11 assists.

Besler was a staple in a Notre Dame defensive unit that registered 11 shutouts on the season. In addition to helping the Irish post impressive numbers on defense, Besler totaled six points on two goals and two assists. The central defender started all 24 games as Notre Dame produced a 14-5-5 record and advanced to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the second straight season. Besler, who was named to the all-region third team last year, also copped second-team all-BIG EAST honors for the second consecutive season.

Along with garnering postseason accolades, Lapira and Miller have been selected to participate in the 2008 adidas Major League Soccer (MLS) Combine. MLS has announced the initial list of 54 college seniors from 33 Division I schools who have been invited to participate in the annual player combine, which will be held at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Jan. 11-15, 2008.

The coaching and management staffs of all 14 MLS teams will be in attendance to scout talent at the 2008 adidas MLS Player Combine, which concludes three days before the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. The 2008 MLS SuperDraft will be held on Friday, Jan. 18, 2008 in Baltimore, Md.

The 2008 adidas MLS Player Combine will separate all players into four teams and feature two games per day at Lockhart Stadium on Jan. 12, 13, and 15. Each team will be led by an experienced Division I coach and will be assigned a youth coach, to be named at a later date. Former MLS coach and current assistant head coach at Duke University Mike Jeffries has been selected to coach Team Predator PowerServe. Ed Kelly, head coach at Boston College for the past 20 seasons, will coach Team adiTunit. Bobby Muuss, in his first season as the head coach at Denver University after six years as the top assistant coach at Wake Forest University, will lead Team adiPure. Tim Lenahan, head coach of Northwestern University has been chosen to coach Team Trofeo.