The Irish concluded the '06 campaign ranked sixth nationally after compiling a 15-6-2 record and finishing third in the BIG EAST Conference's Blue Division with an 8-3-0 mark. After earning the No. 12 seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame knocked off Illinois-Chicago, 1-0, in the second round before taking down defending NCAA champion Maryland 1-0 in double-overtime. The win over the Terrapins marked the second straight season in which the Irish topped the defending national champion in postseason play.
Accolades were abundant for the 2006 Irish squad following the unprecedented success. Junior forward Joseph Lapira won the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy as the nation's top player according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He became the first student-athlete in program history to win a national player of the year award. Lapira, who led all NCAA Division I men's players with 22 goals and 50 points, also captured player of the year honors from Soccer America along with being Notre Dame's first-ever unanimous first-team All-American.
Lapira was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, while his teammate Greg Dalby was selected as the Midfielder of the Year. In all, the Irish boasted five all-conference performers. Dalby earned firstteam All-America honors for the second straight season and was selected by the Colorado Rapids in the second round (17th overall pick) of the Major League Soccer (MLS) draft. Nate Norman also heard his name called as the Chicago Fire selected the midfielder in the second round (21st pick).
While at New Mexico under head coach Jeremy Fishbein, Clark helped take the program to new heights, which included just the second trip ever to the NCAA Tournament in 2001. The Lobos would then make it to the finals of the College Cup just four years later in 2005. New Mexico registered an 18-2-3 mark in 2005 to tie the school record for wins in a single season. During his four years in Albuquerque, the Lobos combined to post a record of 61-16-8. In the four years before his arrival, the team recorded a 32-40-4 mark.
Clark, the youngest son of Irish head coach Bobby Clark, is a 1999 graduate of Stanford, where he was a two-time All-American. He began his college career at North Carolina before transferring to Stanford following his freshman season. In 1998, he became the first NSCAA first-team All-American in the history of Cardinal soccer as he helped lead the squad to the first NCAA Final Four appearance in program history. Clark also was a second-team All-American in 1997.
"Jamie came from a program that had grown a lot over the past four years," stated Bobby Clark. "He was very lucky to work with Jeremy Fishbein at New Mexico. They made the (NCAA) tournament three out of his last four years, which is something I don't think they had done prior to that. They also led the nation in attendance during his final season. So he came from a program that had gone from nowhere and went to the very top of the tree. To get someone like that to come in is a great boost for our program."
Prior to Clark's arrival at New Mexico, he played two-and-a-half seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. He was drafted out of Stanford as the 21st pick overall in the 1999 MLS Draft.
"I was very glad to join Notre Dame and reunite with my father," said Jamie Clark. " enjoyed playing for him at Stanford and now hope to duplicate that success as an assistant. It's incredible to now be a part of the storied tradition at Notre Dame. As a soccer program, Notre Dame is a top 10 to 15 team in the country. I hope to help them clear that one last hurdle and bring a championship to South Bend."