Aug. 7, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three members of the Notre Dame men’s soccer team were part of the Chicago Fire Super-20 team that recently captured the North American National Championship. The Fire defeated the Toronto Lynx, 2-1, in the final on Sunday, Aug. 3, in Virginia Beach, Va. Rising sophomores Greg Klazura (Rockford, Ill.) and Josh Thiermann (Stoughton, Wis.) along with freshman Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.) contributed to the team’s success during the season.
Thiermann, a midfielder, netted a goal in the Fire’s semifinal win on Saturday. King, also a midfielder, did not play in the finals since he was in Germany practicing with Mainz, a Bundesliga squad.
Fire forward Matt Eliason tallied both goals in the final and earned Golden Boot honors for his six goals in five games. Fire defender Robert Younger and midfielder Mark Blades earned 2008 Super-20 co-MVP honors for their play through the season. The second year program is the first player development program to capture a national title. The Fire posted 15 goals while conceding only two goals during the finals week in five games played.
The Fire Super-20s advanced to the finals after defeating the D.C. United Super-20s, 3-0, on Saturday, Aug. 2, in the semifinal game. Goals came courtesy of Chris Cutshaw (Mike Stevens, 5′), Eliason (Cutshaw, 68′), and Thiermann (Eliason, 70′). Goalkeeper Brock Tomlinson recorded the shutout – his third of the finals week.
“It is a great accomplishment and a true testament of the hard work and fortitude displayed by the staff and players,” said Roland Hahn, Director of Player Development for the Chicago Fire. “The Fire player development programs have been very successful this season and this North American Super-20 Championship is great way to cap off the summer.”
The Super-20s nearly captured the title in their inaugural season last year, advancing to the finals but falling to the Player Development Academy from New Jersey, 3-1. The Super-20 team has lost just once in regular-season play through their first two seasons, going undefeated in their inaugural season last year and falling just once, to Toronto, on the road in the Fire’s 2008 season opener.
“This championship shows that from bottom to top the Fire Player Development programs are attracting the best players from around the country,” said Larry Sunderland, head coach of the Fire Super-20s. “While we feel that this was a great achievement, the staff is very pleased that the individuals in the program are improving and growing as players through the Fire Player Development programs.”
During his freshman season at Notre Dame in 2007, Thiermann played in 11 games, including one start. The Wisconsin native netted the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over St. John’s in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST tournament last November. Thiermann helped the Irish go 14-5-5 and capture a share of the BIG EAST Blue Division title along with advancing to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
Klazura did not see game action as a freshman, yet expects to be in the mix at the midfield position this season. King enrolled at Notre Dame last January and competed with the Irish during the spring campaign.
The Fighting Irish will open the 2008 season on Friday, Aug. 29 against Akron at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic in Bloomington, Ind.