Feb. 9, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame men's soccer head coach Bobby Clark has announced the signing of five players to national letters of intent. The talented class features four student-athletes that appear in TopDrawerSoccer.com's top-100 recruits list.
Comprising the Notre Dame men's soccer class of 2013 are: midfielder Bob Novak (Homer Glen, Ill.), midfielder/defender Danny O'Leary (Naperville, Ill.), midfielder Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas), midfielder/forward Kyle Richard (Louisville, Ky.) and defender Grant Van De Casteele (Plano, Texas).
"I think this is another great class," says Clark. "Every year we graduate very good players and we reload with another group of very good players and this 2009 class is another great example. We are very, very happy. We feel like we know them very well. Four of the five have been to our camp so we've seen them up close. We think they'll fit in nicely. It's also a very good academic class along with being a good soccer class. It's just a great fit for Notre Dame."
Bob Novak - M - 5-6 - 145 - Homer Glen, Ill. (Lockport Township) - Chicago Magic
Member of the Chicago Magic Soccer Club ... named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's `2009 Top 100 Men' recruits ... selected to Region II pool team as U-13, U-14 and U-15 ... won OPD national championship with Team Illinois ... two-time all-state midfielder ... started on his varsity squad all four seasons at Lockport Township ... Super Y-League under-15 national champion with the Magic ... runner-up with the Magic at the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) under-14 national championship ... three-time Region II champion.
Clark on Novak: "Bobby is a competitor who also is a technical player. He usually plays in the wide midfield area with his club team, the Chicago Magic. He's creative and feisty. He's game smart and always tuned into the game and always thinking. I think once he finds his place, he'll become a favorite with the Notre Dame fans because he's a smaller guy with his red hair who has a big heart with a lot of ability. He can do a lot of good things in the game. He connects well, but I think the thing I like most about him is that he's always into the game and very alert."
Danny O'Leary - M/D - 5-11 - 165 - Naperville, Ill. (Neuqua Valley) - Chicago Fire Academy & Sockers FC Chicago Academy
Region II ODP member ... two-time Illinois ODP captain ... 2007 ODP national champion ... 2007 Region II ODP champion ... 2007 Illinois State Cup champion ... 2007 Dallas Cup quarterfinalist ... 2006 Region II ODP champion ... 2006 U.S. Club Soccer National Cup finalist ... 2005 Region II ODP semifinalist ... 2005 U.S. Youth Soccer Region II champion ... 2005 Illinois State Cup champion ... 2005 U.S. Club Soccer Midwest Regional League champion ... ranked 24th on TopDrawerSoccer.com's `2009 Top 100 Men' recruits ... two-time All-Star selection at Notre Dame soccer camp ... top-10 percent of Nike's National SPARQ rating ... four-year member of the 1991 Illinois State ODP squad ... played for Chicago Fire Academy and Sockers FC Chicago Academy teams ... two-time starter in football (wide receiver, kick-off returner) ... older sister attends Notre Dame.
Clark on O'Leary: "Danny is an unbelievably strong athlete. The hard thing will be just to peg where you want to play him. I've seen him play at forward, I've seen him play in the back, I've seen him play as a midfielder. At the moment, he's playing with the Chicago Fire's Under-18 Academy team and is playing in the wide midfield. He'll possibly be the strongest athlete coming in. He's very, very fast. He could certainly be one of our strongest runners on the team. We have a very athletic team, but Danny will be up there athletically with the best of them. He reminds me a lot of (former Notre Dame player) Ryan Miller, who is now with DC United. Ryan was a terrific athlete. Danny has a lot of the same qualities that Ryan had. It'll be fun working with him and finding out where he fits in best."
Dillon Powers - M - 5-11 - 172 - Plano, Texas (Plano Senior) - Andromeda SC
Member of the U.S. Under-18 national team ... a 2008 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American ... an adidas ESP attendant ... ranked as the No. 7 prospect on TopDrawerSoccer.com's `2009 Top 100 Men' recruits ... under-17 national champion with Andromeda SC ... played with the U.S. Youth Soccer ODP All-Star 91's at the 2007 Disney Showcase ... ODP state team (Region III) since 2003 ... ODP regional team (Region III) since 2004 ... 2007 sophomore of the year in District 9-5A ... 2008 9-5A all-district first team ... teammate of fellow Notre Dame recruit Grant Van De Casteele on Andromeda FC.
Clark on Powers: "Dillon is a playmaker who can play a number of positions. He's listed as a center midfielder, yet I've seen him play off the main striker and at high striker. I think he affects the game much more when he plays a bit deeper. He can also play in the wide midfield area. He's just a good soccer player and has a good soccer brain. He's been brought up around the game with his dad being a good player and coach. He just breathes soccer and he is one of the top midfield recruits in the country. I think he has a lot of potential and we are certainly very excited with him."
Kyle Richard - M/F - 5-10 - 155 - Louisville, Ky. (Saint Xavier) - United 1996 FC
Member of the ODP Region II team (2008-09) ... competed with ODP Region II squad during the Costa Rica tour ... Kentucky ODP Team (2008-09) ... 2008 Super Y League national team member ... 2008 regional semifinalist ... Notre Dame Elite soccer camp all-star selection in 2007 ... MVP of the 2006 Tampa Bay Sun Bowl ... team captured the '06 Tampa Bay Sun Bowl ... member of the United 1996 FC that won the Kentucky State Cup championship in 2007 and 2008 ... 2006 Kick-It 3v3 national champion ... U.S. Club Soccer regional champion ... CASL Shootout champion in 2005 ... three-year varsity starter at Saint Xavier ... 2006 Region VI champion ... Kentucky high school state champion in 2007 and 2008 ... member of National Honor Society.
Clark on Richard: "Kyle is someone we spotted at camp. People may watch him play with his United FC team in Louisville and they might not notice him. But once you've seen him and actually look for him, you suddenly realize what a good player he is. He's a good athlete, very quick and very fast. I think he's one that we think has tremendous ability and he's still developing. He can play up front as a forward and he can also play wide in the flank. He's very fast and makes good runs behind. He's a very quiet and unselfish player. To be honest, we feel that he's going to be a sleeper in this class and we're looking for big things from Kyle."
Grant Van De Casteele - D - 6-2 - 165 - Plano, Texas (Frisco Centennial) - Andromeda SC
Played with Andromeda 91, now Andromeda U-18 Academy, for eight years ... squad won the U.S. Youth Soccer (USYS) national championship in 2008 ... team was USYS regional finalists in 2007 and Disney Showcase finalists in 2008 ... team traveled to Sweden and England in 2006 where they were Manchester United Umbro Cup champions ... North Texas State Cup champion along with being a finalist on three other occasions ... named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's `2009 Top 100 Men' recruits ... a teammate of fellow Irish recruit Dillon Powers on Andromeda SC ... a three-time letterwinner at Frisco Centennial ... varsity captain ... named District Player of the Year in 2007 ... team captured the 2007 district title... a National Merit Commended Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society ... named Texas Scholar-Athlete.
Clark on Van De Casteele: "Grant plays mainly as a left-sided defender. He has two good feet, but he's mainly right-footed yet plays on the left side for his club. He can play on the right or in the middle of the back. He gives good coverage across the back with his good size. What I like most about Grant besides him being big and strong is that he connects his passes very well. He can play soccer. I like the way he gets forward. He's a good fit for the way we play. We like our back players to be able to connect passes. We also like them to get forward and we feel he brings that to the table."
2009 University of Notre Dame Men's Soccer Letter of Intent Signees NAME POS. HT. WT. HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB Bob Novak M 5-6 145 Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township/Chicago Magic Danny O'Leary M/D 5-11 165 Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley/Sockers FC & Chicago Fire Academy Dillon Powers M 5-11 172 Plano, Texas/Plano Senior/Andromeda SC Kyle Richard M/F 5-10 155 Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier/United 1996 FC Grant Van De Casteele D 6-2 165 Plano, Texas/Frisco Centennial/Andromeda SC