Feb. 7, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Fresh off winning the national title, the University of Notre Dame men's soccer team has announced the latest group of players to join the program. The Fighting Irish have signed six student-athletes to national letters of intent. The talented class, which is ranked 12th nationally by Top Drawer Soccer, will suit up for the Fighting Irish beginning in August.
Comprising the Notre Dame men's soccer 2014 signing class are: defender Patrick Berneski (Warrington, Pa.), midfielder/forward Kyle Dedrick (Wilton, Conn.), forward Jeffrey Farina (Winnetka, Ill.), midfielder/forward Jon Gallagher (Dundalk, Ireland), goalkeeper Max Hallwachs (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) and midfielder/defender Blake Townes (Canton, Mich.).
"This is another very good class for us," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "It's a class that we know very well. Several of them have attended camp here and the ones who haven't, we feel we've had a good lead on them because we've seen them several times. We feel very comfortable with them as a group.
"But like I say with every class, I'll tell you in three years just how good they really are. Each class in recent years has had good players with good character and that's so important. They've also been good students. I'm very confident that this group will carry on that tradition."
Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region 1 team ... US Youth Soccer Interregional all-tournament teams in 2011-12 and 2012-13 ... US Youth Soccer Region 1 team 2009-2013 (captain in 2011-12 & 2012-13) ... travelled to Italy, Spain, France and Argentina with the Region 1 team ... 2011 Artix Football Club U15 International Tournament finalist in Pau, France ... ODP state team ... Eastern PA Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) state team 2007-2013 ... 2012 and 2013 Region 1 ODP champions ... 2013 ODP national finalist ... 2013-2014 Philadelphia Union U18 Academy Team (inaugural year for Union in USSF Development Academy) ... 2010-2012 Philadelphia Union Juniors ... received a four-star rating (out of five) from Top Drawer Soccer ... was a member of the Lehigh Valley United 95 prior to joining the Philadelphia Union Academy ... 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championship Series fifth-place ... 2012-2013 National League U16 Red Division second place ... 2012 US Youth Soccer Region 1 champions ... 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championship Series third-place ... 2012 Region 1 Premier League finalists ... 2012 EPYSA Pennsylvania state champions ... 2012 Pennsylvania All-State Team ... 2012 All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Team ... 2012 Suburban One League Continental Conference Player of the Year ... 2011 and 2012 Suburban One League First Team ... 2011 and 2012 Central Bucks South High School MVP ... three-year (2010-2012) starting central defender on the Central Bucks South varsity squad... played for Philadelphia Union U18 Academy Team in 2013 lieu of high school.
Clark on Berneski: "We saw Patrick just over a year ago at the Disney Showcase and we liked what we saw. He plays for several people in the Philadelphia area that I know well and they give him the highest recommendation. He has very good size and very good feet for a big player. He's a central defender and that's where he plays mainly for the Union, but he can also play as a defensive midfielder. He has the skill, the vision and the touch to play both roles. We like our defenders to be skillful and he fills this bill nicely."
Played for Beachside Soccer Club U12-U17 ... Beachside joined US Soccer Development Academy as BSC Academy ... played U18 BSC Academy during senior year ... helped Beachside win three Connecticut state championships (U15, U16, U17) ... team ranked #2 nationally at U17 according to GotSoccer.com ... 2012 US Youth Soccer National League second place ... 2012 Disney finalists ... four-time Connecticut Junior Soccer Association League champions (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) ... led team in assists and was second in goals over six years with the squad ... selected to US National Soccer Federation Training Center and national team ID camp ... varsity starter for Wilton High School as a freshman, sophomore and junior ... tallied 35 goals and 30 assists ... voted captain by team but unable to play senior year of high school due to 10-month academy season ... FCIAC (Fairfield County Connecticut) Scholar-Athlete of the Month (all-sports) in October 2012 ... all-FCIAC as a sophomore and junior ... named Madison Square Garden Varsity Player of the Week in October 2012 ... voted one of the top-five players in FCIAC coaches' poll ... U.S Olympic Development Program Connecticut state team (2009-11) ... three-time Notre Dame Elite Camp All-Star ... member of National Honor Society ... founded and runs Wilton TOPSoccer, a soccer program for children with special needs.
Clark on Dedrick: "Kyle is a three-time camp all-star here at Notre Dame. He's another Beachside (Club) player joining (junior) Brendan Lesch, (freshman) Pat Connolly and fellow signee Jon Gallagher. We really know Kyle well because he's been coming to camp here. We'll probably play him in the wide midfield, but I think he can play anywhere on the midfield. He has a change of pace and can go by players, which is a huge asset. He also combines well and has a good ability to play with other players and he'll fit in well with the way we play."
Ranked 36th nationally in Top Drawer Soccer 2014 Top 150 and was No. 3 in the Midwest Region ... Top Drawer Soccer ranked him 14th nationally at the forward position ... 2013 Chicago Fire Academy U18 ... Chicago Fire U20 national playoffs ... Chicago Fire PDL guest player ... 2012 Chicago Fire Academy squad finished in first place in the Great Lakes Division ... scored five goals in the tournament to help his Fire team win Group 4 at the 2012 U16 Academy Playoffs ... named to Top Drawer Soccer 2011-12 Development Academy Playoffs U16 Best XI ... competed at the 2012 U16 Academy Nationals in Houston, Texas ... a starter for FC United (Glenview, Ill.) from 2008-11 ... 2011 FC United U15 Select team ranked #7 in the nation by Got Soccer National Rankings ... leading scorer (nine goals) at 2011 Midwest Regionals ... 2011 Jefferson Cup (Richmond, Va.) champion ... 2011 FC Delco Players Cup (Philadelphia, Pa.) champion ... 2011 del Sol Tournament (Phoenix, Ariz.) semifinalist ... 2009 del Sol Tournament champion ... played for Wilmette Wings SC from 2002-08 ... starting midfielder on 2010 and 2011 Illinois Olympic Development Program (ODP) team ... helped his Illinois ODP team finish third in the nation at the 2010 National ODP Championships ... 2011 ODP regional pool ... three-year starter (freshman, sophomore, junior) at New Trier High School ... only sophomore selected to the 2011 Chicago Sun-Times All-Area Team ... 2011 New Trier MVP ... 2011 All-Central Surburban League All-Conference ... 2011 all-sectional ... 2011 Regional Champions Illinois Youth Soccer Association (IYSA) Class 3A ... 2011 Sectional Champions IYSA Class 3A ... 2011 Super-Sectional runner-up ... 2010 sectional champion ... scored 37 goals en route to winning 2009 Kick-it 3v3 national championship.
Clark on Farina: "We have a great photo of Jeffrey from back when he attended one of our younger camps so he's had Notre Dame in his sights for a long time. He's a goal scorer and he's big and strong. The first thing that caught my eye about two-and-a-half years ago when I saw him down in Florida was his ability to hold the ball up. He does that superbly well for a young player. He holds it up and brings other players into play and that's one of his main assets. When you combine that with his ability to score goals, he's a player that's going to have a very good career here."
Had trials with Juventus FC (Seria A), Olympique Marseille (French Ligue 1), Newcastle United (Premier League) and Blackburn Rovers (Championship - England) ...was asked back for one-month trials with Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers ... played for the National England Schoolboys U18 team ... started every game for my high school team (Millfield) as a junior in the season we won the National England Schoolboys Cup ... scored nine goals in England Schoolboys Football Association (ESFA) Cup ... Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) finalists and champion ... offered trials with Colchester United ... earned first team colours at Millfield School ... semifinalist in ISFA six-a-side tournament (scored seven goals in five games) ... represented school in the national and regional (South) ISFA U18 Schoolboys team ... voted MVP in back-to-back seasons for International Soccer Academy in Singapore and voted best male player at the club in second year playing for U18 team at age of 15 ... won Singapore Challenge Cup and was the highest goal scorer in the tournament with five goals in three games (did not play in the final due to injury) ... played for ISA (International Soccer Academy) U23 team at age of 15 (freshman year) and was top goal scorer of the league with 24 goals ... voted "man of the match" for six of the 13 games ... was captain of the winning team in the ANZA Cup (Australia, New Zealand and Asia) and highest goal scorer for the team (seven goals) ... played for Singapore League champions Home United ... won the U18 league and started every game ... third-highest scorer in the league ... offered a professional contract by two teams to play in the Singapore First Division ... was captain and made it to the quarterfinals of the Gothia Cup in Sweden ... voted MVP for his high school (Tanglin Trust School) team in Singapore during sophomore year ... leading scorer (11 goals in seven games) in SEASAC ... won SEASAC tournament with his high school squad ... currently playing for Beachside Soccer Club Academy in Connecticut in USSDA ... played for ODP state and Region 1 team (U13) ... played for Beachside Soccer Club in Connecticut from U12 to U14.
Clark on Gallagher: "Jon has had a very interesting career. He played for Beachside (in Connecticut) as a younger player and then his father was transferred to Singapore for work. He played in Singapore and then he played in England. He tried out for several EPL (English Premier League) teams and did well, but I think he values the opportunity to play at a high level and get a top-level education. We actually saw him at camp last year when he came out with (fellow signee) Kyle Dedrick and he was superb at camp. He made the all-star game and really impressed us. He'll play in the wide midfield, but can also play as an underneath forward. He has a really good ability to score goals."
Has been a member of the Internationals SC club team in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) for the last three years (U15/16, U17/18) ... played for the Cleveland United U16 in 2010-11 ... starting goalkeeper for the Cleveland United U16 team as a U15 in preparation for the USSDA ... in April 2013 he trained in Sinsheim, Germany with TSG Hoffenheim's Akademie, a member of German Bundesliga ... invited to train with the U17 and U19 Bundesliga Akademie teams ... trained individually with German, Romanian and Yugoslavian national team strikers ... invited to the U.S. National Team training center in Spring of 2012 ... a Notre Dame Elite Camp All-Star in July of 2013 ... 2009 Region II Olympic Development Program (ODP) pool ... 2009 Region II semifinalist at regional championship and received the Sportsmanship Award at that event ... played his freshman season at St. Ignatius High School ... called up to the St. Ignatius varsity squad in October of his freshman season and the team went on to win the state title (OHSAA Division I) and were the 2010 ESPN Rise FAB 50 High School National Champions ... starting goalkeeper on the 2011 Chagrin Falls High School team that was the district champion and regional finalist ... all-Chagrin Valley Conference first team and Greater Cleveland second team as a sophomore ... did not play during junior and senior years of high school due to USSDA rules.
Clark on Hallwachs: "Max is another lad who came to our camp last year. We'd seen him play for his club team and he did well. Our goalkeeper coach, Vern Gingerich, was very impressed with him. He is going to come in and add depth to our goalkeeping and hopefully start pushing the other goalkeepers. We have four very strong goalkeepers right now on the roster and I think Max is going to fit in very nicely with that group."
Member of U18 Crew Soccer Academy Wolves/Michigan Wolves in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) for three seasons ... two-time USSDA Finals Week qualifier and Central Conference champions in 2012 and 2013 ... finished third nationally in 2012 and eighth nationally in 2013 ... 2012 USSDA Honoree ... Best XI selected by US Soccer ... 2013 USSDA #1 ranking starting percentage 100% (34 games) ... 2013 Top Drawer Soccer Best XI USSDA playoffs ... four-star ranking (out of five) according to Top Drawer Soccer ... ranked sixth in the Great Lakes Region ... ranked 50th nationally by College Soccer News ... two-time MLS Generation Adidas Cup selection (Columbus Crew) ... 2011 United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) Michigan State Cup Tournament MVP ... two-time USYSA Michigan State Cup Champion (game-winning goal) ... 2009 USYSA Region II champion ... six-time US Soccer Training Center participant ... two-year member of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region II midfielder representing USA ... played internationally in England and Canada with his club team ... three-time Michigan ODP team ... ID2 selection ... earned varsity letters during his freshman and sophomore years at Salem High School ... team MVP and KLAA all-conference midfielder ... licensed youth soccer referee ... a volunteer youth soccer coach.
Clark on Townes: "Blake was a teammate of (Notre Dame freshman) Oliver Harris with the academy team that won the regional league and went to nationals. He's an extremely talented and technical player with good vision and is a good passer. He can play at almost any position. He can play anywhere in the midfield, out wide, defensive midfield, attacking midfield and he could even play as a center back or underneath forward. He's just a really good soccer player who can add to the great history of good midfield players that we've been able to produce in recent years."
2014 University of Notre Dame Men's Soccer National Letter of Intent Signees