Dec. 16, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In recognition of stellar academic and athletic achievement during the 2016 season, University of Notre Dame men’s soccer senior defender Brandon Aubrey (Plano, Texas) was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-America first team on Thursday. The scholar All-America scroll was the first national academic honor for Aubrey during his collegiate career.
Aubrey became the 10th NSCAA Scholar All-America first team selection in Irish program history, joining Ryan Miller (2007), Matt Besler (2008), Michael Thomas (2009), Steven Perry (2010), Jeb Brovsky (2010), Dillon Powers (2012), Grant Van De Casteele (2013), Harrison Shipp (2013) and Patrick Hodan (2014). Besler and Shipp were each named the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year during their respective seasons on the first team.
Aubrey enjoyed a breakout season as a central defender for Notre Dame in 2016, finishing second on the Irish roster with a career-high nine goals and 19 points in 21 starts. Aubrey’s goal and point totals were both the highest recorded by a defender under head coach Bobby Clark (since 2001), and ranked among the top five players overall in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Aubrey delivered three game-winning goals for Notre Dame, and added the program’s first hat trick since 2012 after scoring three of the four Irish goals in a 4-1 win over then No. 15 Virginia Tech on Sept. 9.
Rated the top ranked upperclassman in NCAA Division I soccer in TopDrawerSoccer’s Midseason Men’s National Top 100, as well as a member of the 2016 TDS Men’s Division I Best XI first team, Aubrey concluded his Notre Dame career with 15 goals and four assists (34 points) in 76 match appearances (63 starts) split between central midfield and center back. After moving full-time to the Irish back line in 2014, Aubrey connected on 14 of his 15 career goals, added all four assists, accounted for five game-winning goals, was a perfect 5-for-5 converting penalty kicks, and helped preside over 24 team clean sheets.
Aubrey And Panken Invited To Adidas MLS Combine
Aubrey was also one of the initial 53 Division I players invited to the 2017 adidas MLS Player Combine, along with fifth-year senior tri-captain Evan Panken (Edina, Minnesota). The adidas MLS Player Combine is set to take place in Los Angeles from Jan. 8-12, leading in to the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 13 at the LA Convention Center.
Panken earned his first career all-conference citation in 2016 after being tabbed to the all-ACC third team, finishing his final Notre Dame campaign with two goals, six assists and 10 points. Panken notched two game-winning goals in his fourth season as a starter in the Irish midfield, which included the second fastest by an Irish player since 1995 only 38 seconds into a 5-0 win over then No. 22 California on Sept. 4.
In 88 career starts at Notre Dame, Panken logged 13 goals and 22 assists for 48 points, including six game-winning goals. Panken’s 22 career helpers are tied for ninth in the Irish record book with Powers (2009-12) and Rob Snyder (1980-83).
McCabe Earns TDS Freshman Best XI Recognition
Tommy McCabe (South Orange, New Jersey) joined Aubrey as an end of the season honoree by TopDrawerSoccer, finding a slot on the 2016 TDS Men’s Division I Freshman Best XI first team. McCabe was one of five ACC players recognized on the first team, joining Virginia Tech’s Will Mejia (D), North Carolina’s Mauricio Pineda (D), Clemson’s Malick Mbaye (M) and Wake Forest’s Ewa Twumasi (F).
McCabe started all 21 Notre Dame games in the midfield during his inaugural season, and logged his first career assist during the first round of the ACC Championship against Duke on Nov. 3. An ACC All-Freshman team selection, McCabe played a vital role in all nine Notre Dame shutouts in 2016.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.