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Men’s Soccer: Maund looks to back up awards

Matthew DeFranks | Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Before each game, Irish senior defender Aaron Maund takes a seat at Olive Garden. He orders mussels as an appetizer. Next comes the chicken parmesan as an entrée. And why change?

The superstition has helped the Dorchester, Mass. native sizzle as an All-American performer and assisted in cooking up a winning recipe for No. 17 Notre Dame (2-1-2).

Maund was named a third-team All-American as well as an All-Big East performer prior to this season but refuses to let the accolades build his ego.

“It’s definitely an honor. It shows how hard our team works, and you don’t get those awards without good teammates,” Maund said. “Now, it’s all about going out and proving you deserve it.”

On the international stage, Maund has proved he belonged on multiple occasions, first with the Trinidad & Tobago U-17 national team before joining the United States U-20 squad. Maund, whose father is Trinidadian, has traveled to both Egypt in 2007 and South Korea in 2009 for the age-specific World Cups.

“Egypt was nice, but South Korea was really cool. The technology and the amount of people there were amazing,” Maund said. “The hotel we stayed in had the biggest underground mall in Asia in the basement.”

For the U-20 World Cup, Maund was forced to miss five games during his sophomore campaign. Those matches marked a rare absence for Maund, who has started all 64 games he has played in for the Irish.

“I don’t like sitting out of games,” Maund said. “It’s been tough but definitely rewarding.”

Irish coach Bobby Clark admired Maund’s athleticism and determination as a freshman, viewing it as a great base to begin with. Maund, Clark said, also received a glowing recommendation from his high school coach.

“He came highly recommended from Paul Sugg, his coach at Roxbury Latin, who I knew since my days at Dartmouth,” Clark said. “Whenever he recommends a player, I take a serious look at him.”

Clark netted Maund and subsequent Roxbury Latin product Leon Brown, currently a sophomore forward for the Irish.

While forward is a flashy, glorified position, central defense is an almost thankless and stat-less job. Maund has nevertheless enjoyed the position he has owned for the past three years at Notre Dame.

“You can watch the game develop and see what’s going on [as a central defender],” Maund said. “I like having the ball and being comfortable. It’s kind of like a safety in football.”

Maund is joined in the center of the pitch by Irish junior midfielder Dillon Powers, who joins Maund in a musical undertaking.

Luck or Skill, consisting of Maund, Powers, Irish senior midfielder Michael Rose and Michigan State student Chris Burgess, is a hip-hop group that originated in Dallas and has migrated to the Midwest. They are currently working on their first mixtape, tentatively titled “Call it a Night.”

Maund, a rapper in the group, counts Jay-Z and Kanye West among his influences along with old-school Motown music.

“They are so into their music,” Maund said of the rap giants. “Some of the samples they use are really soulful.”

Like Powers, Maund would like to extend his playing career into the professional realm after Notre Dame, whether it be in America’s Major League Soccer or overseas in one of Europe’s many leagues.

Wherever Maund plays, hopefully they have an Olive Garden, so Maund does not need to disregard his pregame ritual.

The Irish resume play Friday night when they welcome Michigan to Alumni Stadium.