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Men’s Soccer

Irish prepare to host Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament

| Friday, August 25, 2017

No. 10 Notre Dame is set to kick off the 2017 regular season by hosting the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament this weekend at Alumni Stadium. Indiana, San Diego and Cal Poly will also take part in the tournament.

The Irish will play San Diego on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and will wrap up the tournament against Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon.

Irish senior forward Jon Gallagher dribbles around a defender during Notre Dame's 2-1 win over Syracuse on Sept. 23 at Alumni Stadium. Observer File Photo

Irish senior forward Jon Gallagher dribbles around a defender during Notre Dame’s 2-1 win over Syracuse on Sept. 23 at Alumni Stadium.

Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said the competition his team will face this weekend will be very strong.

“Both teams are very well coached,” Clark said. “They have very experienced coaches. The Cal Poly coach used to coach the U.S. national team, so they’re going to be well-coached and they have good players so it will be a tough but good test for us.”

Clark said he knows a little about both Cal Poly and San Diego from his days as the head coach at Stanford.

“I coached at Stanford before I came here, so I know both of these teams and played against both of these teams in my time out there and both teams are very talented with a lot of talented players,” Clark said. “[This tournament] is always a great start to the season. There’s also Indiana, who we don’t play, but they’re the fourth team in the tournament. So there are four excellent teams. It should be a very good game.”

The Irish played in three exhibition games during the week of Aug. 13-21. In its first exhibition game, Notre Dame shut out Omaha 2-0 in Nebraska. The Irish then defeated Drake 4-1 before posting a 3-0 shutout of Valparaiso.

Clark said the games were a big help in getting the team prepared for the regular season.

“They always help you prepare,” Clark said. “The team came in very fit, which was terrific, but that’s running fit. You also have to get game fit. The three games certainly helped get the players game fit, and I think that should be a huge help. Also obviously just getting in game shape again and getting a feel for each other is helpful. It also allowed us to take a look at some of the freshman so you can get a look at which one of the younger players can help us this year, so it was very valuable. It doesn’t mean anything that we won them all. It was nice, but at the end of the day they were just scrimmages so it doesn’t really count for anything.”

When asked what his team needs to do to start their season off right, Clark had a simple answer: winning.

“It’s always winning,” Clark said. “But whether you win or lose you have to handle whatever happens. It’s always one game at a time. The only game we’re focusing on at the moment is the game against San Diego. Then after that, come Saturday, we’ll start focusing on Cal Poly. We’ll get a chance to look at them on Friday when they play Indiana, and they’ll get a chance to look at us so we’ll be a little more familiar with them. I know they’ll be well coached and they’ll have a lot of good players. We’ll get a better feeling after looking at them against Indiana. Against San Diego, we’ll go in a little bit blind but we’ll just have to adapt. Hopefully we’ll have enough experienced players that can pick up how the game is going and adapt.”

The Irish host the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament annually at the beginning of the year. The tournament is named after former Notre Dame head soccer coach Mike Berticelli, who passed away in 2000 at the age of 48 due to a heart attack.

Clark said the tournament holds a special significance for his team and for him personally.

“It’s very special, special for me personally,” Clark said. “I knew Mike. Mike died suddenly and far too early. He was a big name coach in this country in the college game and he was a terrific person. To hold this every year is something special for me. I wish he was still with us, but this is a small token and a way we can remember him.”

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