Growing up, Brian Talcott never had to worry about playing time.
He was always on the field for his club soccer team, and he started four years as goalkeeper at Millard North.
Now Talcott is fighting to get that same kind of playing time at Notre Dame.
After sitting out his freshman year, he’s battling three other keepers for the slot behind likely starter senior Patrick Wall.
“In the second spot, you have to be ready to go at all times and that is where I want to be,” Talcott said.
After last season, Talcott has a new appreciation for players who sit the bench. It’s made him more determined to get on the right path to becoming Notre Dame’s eventual starter.
The first step starts Sunday. Talcott hopes to see action in seventh-ranked Notre Dame’s 1 p.m. exhibition match at No. 6 Creighton. He’d prefer that to the reserve match beforehand.
He’s excited about possibly getting his first big chance before a hometown crowd. He’s very familiar with Creighton since his family had season tickets.
“Now, coming back to play them, you couldn’t really write it better than that,” he said.
Talcott isn’t sure what his role will be Sunday because there’s been little feedback from coaches with practice starting last week. So far, the goalkeepers have all been doing the same drills and no one has been signaled out.
Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark said all four candidates are working hard, and he likes what he’s seen from Talcott.
“Brian had a very, very good spring season, and he grew tremendously,” Clark said. “We are excited to see him play during the preseason games.”
While he was being recruited, coaches told the 6-foot-2, 170-pound Talcott they liked his size. His ability to communicate is also an asset.
“I organize the team very well,” said Talcott, who has to make sure everyone is in the right spot. “It’s one of the biggest aspects of goaltending. It’s not just shot blocking.”
It’s a skill that also has come in handy off the field.
Besides getting used to the fast pace of the college game, he’s had to learn to manage his study time with the demands of playing a Division I sport.
A political science major with a constitutional law minor, he had a 3.7 grade point average in the fall semester and a 4.0 in the spring.
“You don’t have much time,” Talcott said. “You go to school all day and you have to immediately go to practice. After practice is homework. You have to be organized to succeed.”
He’s had a chance to see a few football games but likes that his time isn’t all about sports.
Athletes aren’t housed separately from the student population, so he’s been able to interact with people in his dorm. His roommate for a second year is Hornam Kumahor of Ghana.
In the fall, though, it’s all about soccer. Notre Dame is making the jump to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the Irish want to bounce back from losing to eventual champion Indiana 2-1 in double overtime in the third round of the national tournament. They had been the top seed.
“Coming up short, that’s going to push us to a good season,” Talcott said. “We have a lot of returning guys, and we’re all excited about what we have in store.”