Brian Talcott was at the library Tuesday, in the midst of a marathon study session.
It's finals week at Notre Dame, and that took center stage despite the fact that the Irish won the NCAA Division I soccer title on Sunday.
A political science major with a constitutional law minor and a 3.8 GPA, the sophomore goalkeeper from Millard North had five tests scheduled, with the first on Wednesday.
The men earned their first championship with a 2-1 victory over Maryland at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., then flew back late Sunday night so players could start taking finals Monday.
“It hasn't sunk in yet,” Talcott said. “It feels like we're still in season.”
Talcott didn't see any action as the backup goalie. But coaches wanted him to be ready in case anything happened to starter Patrick Wall, who gave up 18 goals in playing every minute of a 17-1-6 season.
“It's kind of hard. You still have to be mentally in tune to the game at all times,” Talcott said.
Talcott said the whole College Cup experience was exciting, starting with a team banquet before the semifinals and then playing before big crowds in the same park as the Philadelphia Union.
His parents, Jim and Kathy, traveled to the match as well as his best friend, Mark Bai, who attends the University of Pennsylvania.
The Irish were given a replica of the national championship trophy as well as a watch. They will get their title rings in the spring.
“It was an overall cool experience,” Talcott said.
The Irish, who were 6-0-1 on the road, tried to treat the match just like another away game. Still, it was tough to focus during a mandatory study hall Saturday, knowing that the title match was just hours away.
Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark, who played in the Scottish League, got some advice from Sir Alex Ferguson, a longtime manager of Manchester United and his former coach.
Ferguson said to play the game, not the occasion.
“That's how we looked at it,” Talcott said. “Not play like it was a big deal. I think our team did a good job of that. After the semifinal, you didn't see the team celebrating like we won anything.”
Wall hasn't decided if he'll come back for a fifth season. If he does, Talcott would watch for a third year, just like Wall did before he took over as the starter.
Talcott said that's often the way in Division I. He's just trying to soak up as much knowledge as he can.
“It's rare you are ready right as a freshman to come in. The level of play is so much different, it's good to get experience under my belt for a few years,” he said. “It's just a matter of working your way up.”
OFC purchases complex
The Omaha Football Club has a place to practice year round after finalizing the purchase of the Omaha Sports Complex at 14706 Giles Road.
OFC also now owns the Millard Star Soccer Fields at 7550 S. 156th St.
“The purchase will allow OFC to maintain the best soccer facilities in the city and in the state,” said Tim Bennett, the OFC's executive director.
The Omaha Sports Complex has been managed by OFC since 2011 and the group has made several improvements.
The complex includes 80,000 square feet of top of the line turf. The building is outfitted with high intensity halide fixtures and includes OFC offices, an audio visual room, and sports training by Xplosive Edge and physical therapy services by Omaha Physical Therapy Institute.
The Omaha Sports Complex is available for rental by other teams or organizations interested in indoor soccer, baseball and football training or other activities.
OFC also has managed the Millard Star Soccer Complex since 2009. The 13-acre complex includes six lighted soccer fields with a concession stand.
OFC is an affiliate with Sporting Juniors and Sporting Club Network of Kansas City, the parent organization of Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City and have a partnership with Sporting Lincoln in Lincoln.
Schropp, Xiao earn honors
Omaha Creighton Prep's Peter Schropp and Omaha Westside's Michelle Xiao have been named National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Americans.
The Omaha Football Club's Mike Dean also was chosen as the NSCAA Central Region Coach of the Year.
Schropp, from OFC, has verbally committed to Georgetown and Xiao, who plays in the Gretna Soccer Club, to Stanford. Both have had several opportunities with U.S. youth teams.
“Peter has a lot of natural gifts. Great pace, strength and he's a fierce competitor,” Bennett said. “In order to play at the level he's played at, you can't be just one-dimensional. He does them all. He's just tenacious on the field all the time.
Xiao played for the under-17 national team in England last summer and scored in both U.S. victories.
Digger Hawkins, Gretna's director of coaching, said he's seen few players with Xiao's drive and determination.
“She's got a sweet left foot. She's very good on the ball and very technical,” he said. “She's quick, athletic and loves to run at players. She's got natural ability but works very hard at her game.”
Dean was coach of OFC boys under-16 and under-13 teams that won state and qualified for regionals.
Megan McCashland, who plays for Gretna's under-18 Prima team, was selected to the 2013 U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional All-Star Team.
The Notre Dame recruit was one of 300 players who participated in the event in Boca Raton, Fla.
McCashland, a midfielder for Lincoln Southwest, is another hard worker and a role model, Hawkins said. She's been invited to several U.S. training camps.
“She's very competitive,” Hawkins said. “She's just got that personality that she wants to get better and better.”
Twist earns coaching honor
Rachel (Fuchs) Twist has been named the U.S. Youth soccer competitive coach of the year for Region II.
Coaches are honored for their coaching activities, sportsmanship, player development, personal coaching development and citizenship.
The coach of the year will be announced at the U.S. Youth Soccer Workshop in Philadelphia on Jan. 17.
According to the release, Twist tells her players that if they choose to have a positive attitude, it will transfer to the game and they'll play at a higher level.
Twist, an assistant at Omaha Skutt and a former Wayne State player, has multiple coaching diplomas, which help her guide the under-15 Elkhorn United Inferno team. She's pursuing “D” and “C” licenses to improve her coaching education.
“She's an awesome coach and the kids love her,” said John Carlson, the coach at Skutt and the director of coaching for the Elkhorn Soccer Club.
Mavs heading for Jamaica
UNO soccer player Monica Bosiljevac has been working with the Football for the World Foundation to provide soccer equipment to underprivileged children around the world.
She and some of her teammates have collected more than 300 pieces of soccer gear and raised $5,000 to make a trip to Kingston, Jamaica, the home of Maverick soccer standout Vance Rookwood.
Rookwood and teammate Joe Marinkovich, along with Bosiljevac, Mel McCormick, Jordyn Braun, Kerry Pivovar and Sarah Nordstrom, will make the trip in January. The women just finished their senior seasons in the fall.
They'll visit three schools and host some clinics with the local soccer club.
Anyone interested in donating can go to omahasoccerfftw.wordpress.com.
Hansen picked for squad
Johnny Hansen of Lincoln was selected to the U.S. youth soccer Region II Olympic Development pool team for his age group.
He was picked at the camp in Rockford, Ill., that was attended by the top players from 14 Midwestern states.
The left defender was one of 18 players who then competed for the Region II team at a tournament in Casa Grande, Ariz., at the start of the month.
Hansen is in eighth grade at Lincoln Christian and plays for the OFC Lincoln Elite soccer team.
“Johnny is an extremely coachable and versatile player,” said Ryan Kruse, OFC's boys director of coaching. “He's got a number of strengths that makes him very valuable on the field in a number of positions.”