Junior forward Melissa Henderson (pictured) and senior defender/midfielder Lauren Fowlkes were among 25 players named preseason All-Americans by Soccer America, the publication announced Thursday.

Women's Soccer Summer Notebook #1

June 7, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – As the 2010 FIFA World Cup gets set to kick off this weekend, and the new college soccer season is only two months away, now is the perfect time to get a look at some of the names and faces within the Notre Dame women’s soccer program that are making news during the off-season. As a reminder, the Fighting Irish will open their 2010 season at 1 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 13 with an exhibition match against Virginia in Traverse City, Mich. The regular season gets underway at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 20, when Notre Dame plays host to Minnesota at Alumni Stadium.

Season ticket packages and single-game tickets for all 2010 Fighting Irish women’s soccer home matches can be purchased from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays at the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office, located inside the Rosenthal Atrium at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion. The ticket office also accepts purchases by phone (574-631-7356) and on-line through the tickets page of the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets) — service charges may apply.

For all the latest information on Fighting Irish women’s soccer, fans also can sign up to follow the team on its newly-created Twitter news page at www.twitter.com/ndsoccernews.

Here’s a peek at the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news wire from the past few weeks:

Henderson, Fowlkes Sparkle For USA U-23 Team During German Tour
Notre Dame players accounted for three of their country’s four goals during a recent European swing, as rising junior forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) scored twice and rising senior forward Lauren Fowlkes (Lee’s Summit, Mo./St. Teresa’s Academy) added a goal of her own to help the United States Women’s Under-23 National Team earn a pair of ties during a three-game tour of Germany last month.

After the American side dropped its opening match, 2-0 to a German boys’ club team (TSG Wieseck), Henderson and Fowlkes played a critical role in the USA’s comeback from a two-goal deficit on a rain-soaked pitch to forge a 2-2 draw with the Germany Women’s U-23 National Team on May 26 at Marburg Stadium in Marburg, Germany. Henderson netted her first goal of the trip in the 45th minute to get the Stars & Stripes on the board, then Fowlkes headed home a free kick in the 82nd minute to pull the Americans level.

The United States wrapped its German tour with another 2-2 tie, this time against the South Korea Women’s Under-20 National Team on May 29, also in Marburg, Germany. Henderson opened the scoring in the 31st minute before the Koreans tallied the next two goals, but the Americans got the equalizer in the 72nd minute to claim a second point on their trip.

Fighting Irish Alums Making Noise Early In Women’s Professional Soccer Season
Former Notre Dame All-America backs Candace Chapman (`05) and Carrie Dew (`09) have helped FC Gold Pride (based in the San Francisco Bay Area) take a firm hold of first place in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) standings with 16 points (5-2-1) two months into the 2010 season. Both players have started all six matches they have appeared in thus far, with Dew netting the game-winning goal in the 90th minute of a 2-1 home win over the expansion Atlanta Beat on April 24, then adding the game-winning assist on Christine Sinclair’s 39th-minute score in a 1-0 victory at defending WPS champion Sky Blue FC on May 1.

This week, another former Fighting Irish (and current U.S. National Team) great joined Chapman and Dew on the FC Gold Pride roster, as midfielder Shannon Boxx (’99) signed a free agent deal with the club following the dissolution of her former WPS club, Saint Louis Athletica. Boxx, who helped the Los Angeles Sol to the WPS regular season title last year, returned to the Golden State with her new squad this past weekend, as FC Gold Pride and the second-place Washington Freedom played to a 1-1 draw.

Speaking of the Freedom, former Notre Dame All-America midfielder Brittany Bock (’09) is in her first season in our nation’s capital after turning in an impressive rookie campaign last year as Boxx’s teammate in Los Angeles. This season, Bock has been recovering from preseason foot surgery and missed the first four matches of the year before making her Washington debut as a substitute in the final 15 minutes of the Freedom’s scoreless draw with visiting Boston on May 8.

Another of Boxx’s Saint Louis teammates also is on the move, as former Notre Dame all-region left back Elise Weber (’09) signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Red Stars this week, initially earning a spot on the team’s developmental roster, but moving up to the main squad prior to the Red Stars’ 0-0 tie with visiting Atlanta this past Saturday. Weber, an Elk Grove Village, Ill., native who started six matches for Saint Louis before coming home to the Windy City, came on early in the first half as an injury substitute and played the final 79 minutes on the Chicago back line alongside fellow Notre Dame alum and three-time All-America defender (as well as U.S. National Team captain) Kate Markgraf (’98).

Markgraf is in her first WPS season after sitting out last year on maternity leave, having given birth to twins in June 2009. She has started all eight matches this season and anchored a Chicago defense that has allowed just six goals thus far.

Rounding out the Notre Dame contingent in WPS are former All-America midfielder Jen Buczkowski (’07) and forward Amanda Cinalli (’08). Buczkowski, who won a WPS title as a member of Sky Blue FC last season, has been a force in the middle for the expansion Philadelphia Independence, helping that club surge into a tie with Washington for second place in the league standings with 14 points (4-2-2). The former Fighting Irish has appeared in seven matches for the Independence, starting six times — Philadephia returns to action at 6 p.m. (ET) Sunday (June 13) when it plays host to league leaders FC Gold Pride on Fox Soccer Channel.

Meanwhile, Cinalli played in five matches, starting twice this season for the expansion Atlanta Beat, after spending last year in Saint Louis. Last week, Cinalli was waived by Atlanta when the club signed five former Saint Louis players in a free agent whirlwind, but it is believed Cinalli will be returning to Atlanta shortly as a member of the team’s developmental roster.

A ninth Notre Dame alum — 2010 graduate and standout forward Michele Weissenhofer — started the season on the developmental squad for the Chicago Red Stars. However, she was released last week when the club signed a pair of free agents.

For more information on Fighting Irish players in WPS, please visit the league’s official web site at www.womensprosoccer.com.

Handful Of Notre Dame Players Also Competing This Summer In W-League
In addition to the large contingent of Notre Dame alums in WPS this summer, several Fighting Irish players (past, present and future) will be suiting up in the United Soccer League’s W-League this summer.

The defending league champion Pali Blues (based in Pacific Palisades, Calif.) have a pair of Notre Dame ties on their roster, as Fowlkes and former Fighting Irish all-region back Christie Shaner (’07) will join that squad this season. Shaner was selected as a team captain and suited up for the Blues’ 1-0 season-opening victory over the visiting Santa Clarita Blue Heat this past Saturday. Fowlkes is expected to join the club shortly.

One of Shaner’s former Notre Dame teammates is making her W-League debut this season, as two-time All-American Melissa Tancredi (’04) suits up for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Also a standout on the Canadian National Team, Tancredi wasted little time in making an impact with her new team, netting the game-winning goal in the 89th minute of a 2-1 opening night victory over the visiting Colorado Force on May 30.

Rising senior goalkeeper Nikki Weiss (Redding, Conn./Immaculate) also is playing in the W-League this summer as the starting netminder for the Washington Freedom Futures. Weiss has backstopped the Futures to a 2-0-1 record thus far, including a pair of shutouts. She went the first 61 minutes and was not asked to make a save in a 3-0 season-opening win over the visiting New Jersey Rangers on May 23, before going the distance and making six stops in a 2-0 whitewash of the New York Magic last Saturday.

The other player with Notre Dame ties in the W-League this summer is incoming freshman forward Adriana Leon (Maple, Ont./The Country Day School). A rising star on the Canadian Women’s U-20 National Team, Leon is competing with the W-League’s Toronto Lady Lynx, scoring the team’s first goal of the season in the 15th minute of a 1-1 draw with Rochester on May 30.

For more information on Notre Dame players competing in the W-League, please visit the league’s official web site at wleague.uslsoccer.com.

Jersey Auction Nets More Than $3,000 For Charity
The Notre Dame women’s soccer program raised more than $3,000 through a charity auction of its game jerseys from the April 23 exhibition match against the Mexican National Team at Alumni Stadium. Through on-line bidding at the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com, fans were able to place bids on these one-of-a-kind jerseys, which were embroidered with the match date and the charity, Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do, and the uniforms subsequently were autographed by Fighting Irish players.

Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do is based in Fort Wayne, Ind., and is a camp for children with cancer and their families. For more information on Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do, please visit their web site at www.campwatchawannado.com.

Space Remains For Notre Dame Girls’ Soccer Advanced Camp Sessions
There are still a handful of slots left for the 2010 Notre Dame girls’ soccer advanced camps, which are open to girls ages 10-18 and will get underway June 16-20 with the first of three sessions — the other camp sessions will be held July 16-20 and July 21-25, with all three taking place on the Notre Dame campus.

Led by 2009 Soccer America National Coach of the Year Randy Waldrum, the Fighting Irish girls’ soccer advanced camps are exclusively for high level female players. Players will be challenged daily by playing under pressure in all situations. The focus of the camp will be to improve each player’s ability to deal with game conditions. Advanced techniques and tactics also will be taught by a superior staff that also includes veteran Notre Dame assistant coaches Dawn Greathouse and Ken Nuber. Special sessions, including selecting a college, strength and conditioning, and sports psychology, will prepare players to succeed at the highest level.

For more information on the Fighting Irish girls’ soccer advanced camps or to download a printable camp application and brochure, please CLICK HERE.

— ND —