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Men’s Soccer: Wall finds niche as goalie

Vicky Jacobsen | Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It wasn’t a desire to emulate a talented international keeper that inspired Irish senior goalkeeper Patrick Wall to move to his current position at the age of 11. He wasn’t looking for the adrenaline rush that follows a great save, or even the responsibility of being his team’s last defense.

No, the young Wall was, well, not all that interested in exerting himself.

“It all started around the age when coaches felt the need to do conditioning with the players, and one day I asked the coach if there was any way I could get out of all the running,” Wall said. “His response was ‘Well, you could be the goalie.’ So I took that advice to heart and avoided all the long running that I could.”

The No. 4 Irish are the lucky beneficiates of Wall’s decision. The Sugarland, Texas, native has played every minute of the season so far, allowing only three goals in six contests. The Irish (3-0-3, 1-0-2 ACC) are still undefeated, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 10-3. Wall has saved 21 of the 24 shots on goal so far this season, good for a .875 save percentage.

Although goalkeeping is a high-pressure responsibility, Wall, who first saw major playing time last season, starting 10 games, says he doesn’t suffer from nerves or anxiety at game time.

“Games are a lot of fun, especially playing at home in front of our fans,” Wall said. “Whenever we have a large student section coming out and sitting behind the goals it boosts the whole atmosphere of the game. All of our guys love that kind of game environment.”

But Wall does not deny that he might have developed a bit of the quirkiness often associated with goalkeepers.

“Yeah, I can’t argue that goalies are different, but I don’t take that as a bad thing,” Wall said. “We have four keepers on our team all who have different personalities. I’m a bit of a space nerd, [senior] Adam LaPlaca has survived Marine boot camp, [sophomore] Brian Talcott is one of the best dancers I’ve ever seen, and Chris Hubbard is still a freshman.”

Wall wasn’t kidding when he described himself as a “space nerd.” The two-time Big East Academic All-Star is majoring in aerospace engineering.

“It’s not a common major, but I enjoy flying and it has been a great fit for me,” Wall said.

Wall spent his summer in Houston, where he interned with a NASA contractor – while training with the Houston Dynamo of the MLS.

“So while I was a big nerd this summer working on sending a rocket into space, I also got to learn from some of the best soccer players in the country,” Wall said. “Both experiences were dream jobs and the opportunity to do them both every day of the summer was unbelievable.”

But don’t think Wall spends all his time at soccer practice or toiling in the lab. The senior says some of the best moments of his college career have come at the Yacht Dance, the annual event attended by St. Edward’s Hall residents.

“At the end of every year I get to travel down to Chicago with my best friends and party on a yacht all night,” Wall said. “Every year there is a story that will be remembered long after we graduate.”

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu