ND Men's Soccer 2019 Foreign Tour: England The Irish are on a 10-day trip in England For Spring Break


The Notre Dame men's soccer team is taking advantage of the NCAA rule that allows teams to take one foreign trip as a team once every four seasons this spring by touring England over Spring Break. The trip will have a broad focus, as the team will play against a number of English academy teams, learn about the English culture, go site-seeing and watch a few professional matches.

"We are incredibly excited to head to England for a few days. We have a great schedule of games to play and games to watch, it will be a soccer lovers dream trip. A huge thanks to all of our generous alumni and friends who helped fund this once in a lifetime trip for our team. We will get time to develop as a team on the field and off the field and truly make memories that will last a lifetime." - Notre Dame head coach Chad Riley


The Irish landed in London Heathrow at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, March 9 after a seven and a half hour flight from Chicago to get the foreign tour officially underway. The team fought off a case of jet lag and made the two-hour trek to England's southern coast to watch Southampton host Tottenham in a Premier League fixture.

The squad got into St. Mary's Stadium early to soak in the atmosphere and take photos and videos down close to the pitch.

Under Armour hosted the coaches and staff to its midfield box for the match.


The Irish could not have gotten a better match to kick off the trip, as Southampton managed to score twice in the final 15 minutes of regulation to shock Tottenham with a 2-1 victory. James Ward-Prowse scored the winner off a sublime free kick, sending the stands into a frenzy.

Following the thrilling match the Irish student-athletes, coaches and staff retreated back to their hotel to have dinner and rest after the eventful and exhausting past few days.

After a full night's rest the Irish were recharged for day two of the tour. After breakfast in the hotel the team made the short drive to Staplewood Football Development & Support Centre, home of Southampton's training grounds.

The guys watched a number of English U-13 sides compete before taking in a training session of Southampton's U-23 squad. The team then headed to the main facility to eat lunch, relax and to prepare for the first team training session of the trip in the afternoon.

The squad got a quick workout in and then took one of the grounds' nine pitches for training. After the session, the Irish met in a lounge area and a member of the Southampton staff spoke to the team about the culture and values of the club.

Southampton Training Center Tour

The team took a tour of the state of the art Markus Liebherr Pavillion.

The facility is home to Southampton's locker room, gym, press room, coaching & staff offices and more.

Felicien Dumas recorded the entire tour of the facility, take a look below at the footage he captured.

After the tour the squad went back to the hotel and watched the first half of Arsenal vs. Manchester United before heading to dinner at a local restaurant in Southampton for a wonderful meal to wrap up the second day of the trip.

Monday marked the third and final day the team spent in Southampton. The guys began the morning with a tour of St. Mary's Stadium, home to Southampton FC.

The team got a behind the scenes look at the changing rooms, pitch, club levels and even the stadium jail.

Following the tour, members of the Southampton FC staff spoke to the players, coaches and staff. The three presentations were Video Analysis, The Southampton Way and How to Create a High Performance Team.

The squad then ate lunch and made a quick stop at the team shop before departing Southampton and heading north to Bedfont for the first of three friendlies of the trip. Southampton FC could not have been more welcoming and helpful during the team's stay and proved why it is a top-class club.


The Irish played their first friendly of the tour against Player Centre, a team consisting of former academy players from England.

The match ended level with a score of 3-3. All three of Notre Dame's goals came in the second half, as Mo Omar, John Rea and Ian Aschieris all found the back of the net.

John Rea finished from the spot to even the score at 2-2 in the video above.

Ian Aschieris drew both of Notre Dame's awarded penalties and he finished the team's second spot kick of the day to make the score 3-3.

"I thought it was a great first game. I think we did some good things and bad things and there were some flukey preseason goals we gave away. But I thought we grew well through the game and were really pushing at the end. Obviously we never like to give up three goals but I liked our response to them and I think it gave us good preparation for our game against Derby County U-19s tomorrow." - Head Coach Chad Riley

After the match the team took the bus north to St. George's Park, the training grounds of the England National Teams. The hotel on the grounds was decked out with historical photos and theming from some of the country's greatest moments.

The team started the morning with a tour of where it stayed the night, the grounds of St. George's Park. The 330-acre property is home to England's National Teams and has a number of indoor and outdoor pitches on the grounds.

The outdoor pitch and the locker rooms were designed to be exact replicas of Wembley Stadium, the home of the majority of England's home matches. One of the facilities featured an autograph wall that almost all of the sports biggest names on it from the last 20 years.


Following the tour the team hopped on a bus and traveled to Derby County to take on its U-19 side, which is one of the strongest in England for the age group. The two sides battled and created a number of chances en route to a 0-0 draw.

"I thought it was a great game. It was very nice of Derby County to bring us to their training ground. The main chunk of the team we faced is at the top of the table in the U-18 Premier League. They really tested us early on but we grew into the game. They were maybe unlucky not to score a couple and we were maybe unlucky not to score a couple. I'm really proud of the way the team handled the match overall and I think we will get a lot better from this match." - Chad Riley

After the team cleaned up and showered it headed to Manchester for the highly anticipated second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 matchup between Manchester City and Schalke 04.

The Irish were treated to an absolute master-class performance from City, who played a nearly perfect match on its way to a 7-0 thrashing to advance to the competition's quarterfinals.

After the match the team traveled to Carden Park and turned in for the night.

The team and staff stopped for lunch in Manchester's MediaCityUK, home to the headquarters of the BBC and a number of other media outlets.

Following lunch the Irish got to tour one of the most famous stadiums in not just England but the world on Wednesday, as the team traveled to Old Trafford to check out the grounds. Freshman Mo Omar takes you behind the scenes of the impressive stadium.

The highlights included a three-story museum with loads of trophies, jerseys and historic photos.

One of the players favorite parts of the day was seeing the Red Devils' changing room and sit in the same spots that current and former world class players.



After the tour Notre Dame headed back to the hotel to relax for the evening. Following dinner the squad watched Liverpool clinch a spot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League by defeating Bayern Munich 3-1 in Munich.

The Irish started day six of the trip with a morning training session, their final of the trip, to get ready for Saturday's last friendly against Brentford FC Reserves. Following the session the team headed to the city of Liverpool to some sight-seeing.

The team explored Liverpool, hitting up a number of spots that have been made famous by the Beatles.

Notre Dame jumped back on the bus and went back to the hotel for the evening, in preparation of an early morning on Friday, as the squad will head to London for the final two days of the tour.

At the hotel dinner, the team surprised Jake Huber for his birthday with a cake and then turned in for the night.

The Irish set out on its longest bus ride of the tour, heading down to London on a four-hour trip for the final leg of their time abroad. Upon arrival in the nation's capitol, the team paid a visit to the Notre Dame London headquarters just off Trafalgar Square.

At Notre Dame London, Rev. James M. Lies, C.S.C., offered an early afternoon mass, which was followed by a lunch with the staff.

Following the time at Notre Dame London, the squad explored one of the most famous cities in the world for the remainder of the afternoon.

The team hit up a lot of the famous sites, walking to Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey just to name a few.

The coaching staff and five players took the Tube to Chelsea FC to join the Chelsea Foundation for an event. Coach Riley spoke to the gathering explaining the college system for the sport of soccer and answered questions.

Per the foundations website, the Chelsea Foundation brings together the Football in the Community and the Education department along with the club’s other charitable and community activities, including our international work and anti-discrimination projects. To learn more about the Chelsea Foundation, click here.


The Irish both played and viewed their final matches during the foreign tour on Saturday to cap the trip.


In the third and final friendly of the tour the Irish faced its toughest opponent in Brentford FC Reserves. In a match that was played in very windy conditions, the Irish came out on top by a final score of 1-0 to cap off an undefeated tour.

Forward Ian Ascheiris bagged the fixture's only goal in the first half and goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull made a number of key saves to preserve the clean sheet. The Irish backline was stout throughout the 90 minutes, as the center-back pairing of Senan Farrelly and Philip Quinton impressed.

"I'm proud of the guys. It was a tough day with the conditions. It was definitely the most difficult opponent of the trip and I am proud of the way the guys responded, competed and performed. We were good today. We were fortunate to get a goal and see out the victory." - Chad Riley

Following the victory the team headed back into London to watch the Premier League clash between West Ham and Huddersfield at London Stadium, the home to the 2012 Olympic ceremonies and track and field events.

The match did not disappoint, as seven goals were scored, the final three by West Ham to record a remarkable 4-3 comeback victory.

Chicharito scored two goals off the bench as a second-half sub, including the game-winner in stoppage time.

After the thrilling match, the team poured back into the bus and headed to its final team meal out. The squad went to an Italian restaurant near the hotel for dinner.

Following dinner the team returned to the hotel for the "closing ceremonies" of the trip presented by the tour company. There were plenty of laughs as the group reminisced on the trip and then everyone retired to their rooms for the night and prepared for a day full of travel to the states the next morning.

Check back in throughout the week for more updates on the trip and follow the Notre Dame soccer team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

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