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MENS SOCCER: Critically acclaimed

Kyle Cassily | Thursday, January 19, 2006

The accolades continue to pile up for Irish junior Greg Dalby, and no one is more proud – or less surprised – than Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark.

Less than a month after being named a first-team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Dalby was selected to both the College Soccer News and SoccerTimes.com first-team All-American teams on Jan. 10.

“I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t [selected],” Clark said. “That would have been my reaction. I hope I don’t take him for granted, because I kind of expected him to.”

Dalby was not available for comment Wednesday.

He is the first Notre Dame men’s soccer player to ever receive three first-team honors in the same season and only the second in the team’s history to earn the first-team distinction by the NSCAA and College Soccer News.

The All-American honors come on the heels of an outstanding season for Dalby in the Irish midfield, where he tallied two goals and an assist. As a tri-captain, he helped lead Notre Dame to its third appearance in the NCAA tournament round of 16 after a 2-0 upset win over two-time defending champion Indiana before falling 1-0 to Clemson.

“He doesn’t say ‘do as I say’ but ‘do what I do’,” Clark said of Dalby’s leadership style. “Everyone listens to him. He’s got a quiet, commanding style. He’s not a shouter. He’s not scared to make his points. He’s not scared to stand up to anyone or anything if he thinks its right.”

Dalby’s also was chosen to captain the U.S. Under-20 team this summer in the FIFA World Youth Championships in Holland.

Clark said Dalby’s appointment of leadership on the select team complete with future professionals was a sign of the great respect his midfielder receives from the nation’s soccer elite.

“You don’t get these kind of honors if you’re not a good player,” Clark said. “That’s a clear indication of the type of player he is.”

And don’t expect Dalby to disappoint when the 2006 season comes around. The senior-to-be is on the top of his game, but Clark believes that there is always room for improvement.

“When you stop getting better, it’s time to hang it up,” Clark said. “The type of person Greg is, he’s always going to be looking for ways to improve. He has the potential to play in the pro game.”