Feb. 25, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Less than three months after winning the national title, the University of Notre Dame men's soccer team will be back on the pitch building towards the 2014 campaign. The Fighting Irish have unveiled a nine-match spring slate that is highlighted by the annual showdown with the Mexico Under-20 National Team on April 25 at Alumni Stadium.
The Irish open spring play March 11 with a visit to the Columbus Crew of the MLS (the game originally was scheduled against the Chicago Fire, but had to be switched). Notre Dame will travel to Pontiac, Mich., March 22 for games against Michigan and Oakland University. Those contests will take place inside the Ultimate Soccer Arenas. The Fighting Irish will have two matches at Evansville on March 29.
"We start with a bang against the Chicago Fire," Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. "We keep the guys on campus over spring break and we always try to look for a fun game and this year we play the Fire. You never know, we might be playing against (former Notre Dame All-American and Fire rookie) Harry Shipp. That would be a treat for us.
"Going to Evansville will be really nice because it takes (junior defender) Max Lachowecki back to his roots. It'll be nice to let some of his family and friends see him play."
On April 6, the Fighting Irish will have their first home contests of the spring when they play host to Western Michigan and Valparaiso. DePaul also will be in town to take part in the "mini tournament".
"We try to do some double-games during the spring so that everyone plays," Clark said. "It's so important that we find out exactly what we have before next August when the freshmen join us. I always say to the upperclassmen that this is their opportunity to stake a claim. The spring is such a key time in the development of the next year's team."
A marquee showdown between the last two national champions will take place April 12 in Ft. Wayne, Ind., as Notre Dame will square off against its instate rival Indiana at the Ft. Wayne Sport Club. The Fighting Irish and Hoosiers have met on several occasions in Ft. Wayne during the spring season.
"We always have a great turnout down in Ft. Wayne for the big instate rivalry game with Indiana; it's always a great game," Clark said. "And the Mexico game has become a fantastic way to end the spring season."
This spring will mark the ninth time in the last 10 years that Notre Dame has hosted one of the national teams from Mexico. The Fighting Irish are 5-2-1 in these contests, including a 3-1-1 mark against Mexico's U20 squad. Last season, Notre Dame topped the Mexico U20s 3-2.
2014 University of Notre Dame Men's Soccer Spring Schedule