March 12, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - While their classmates flocked to southern states in search of sun tans and spring break excursions, the Notre Dame men's soccer team headed north in search of another adventure - one that would take place on an indoor turf field instead of a sandy beach.
On Friday, March 8, the squad boarded a bus and traveled almost eight hours to Canada's Queen City, Toronto for a much-needed reprieve from South Bend. During their trip, Notre Dame's footballers played in exhibition matches against the Toronto FC Reserve and Senior Academy soccer teams and took in all that Toronto had to offer. Blogging on behalf of their teammates about the trip and the team's adventures were goalkeepers Brian Talcott and Adam LaPlaca. Talcott's description of the first day's festivities can be seen here.
The team's trek north was enhanced due to the generosity of the Notre Dame Monogram Club's team hosting program. The program, established in 1990, was originally established to support Notre Dame's current student-athletes as they traveled across the country and to provide a means for teams to interact with Notre Dame alumni en route to their competitions.
In its current format, the program has been significantly expanded to offer student-athletes even more opportunities to experience personal growth while on the road. The team hosting program's goal is to offer spiritual, educational and entertainment opportunities to Fighting Irish athletes by providing tickets to professional sporting events or Broadway shows in New York City, or by sponsoring museum tours - amongst other activities.
During their stay in the great white North, the Monogram Club provided the team with tickets to two sporting events. The first - an MLS match between Toronto FC and Sporting KC - had special meaning for sophomore midfielder Nick Besler, as he had the chance to watch his older brother (and Irish alum) Matt start at center back for Sporting KC.
On the second day of their trip, after touring Toronto FC's training facilities the soccer team also took in an NBA game between the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers courtesy of the Monogram Club. For a full description of what day two had in store for the Irish, read LaPlaca's blog post on the day here.
The Irish returned to campus Wednesday grateful to the Monogram Club for the chance to experience not only foreign competition over their spring break, but also entertainment and culture in one of Canada's most diverse cities.