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Local Soccer Notebook: ‘Boss’ retires, Messiah wins No. 11

West Chester native Andrew O’Malley reflects on his former head coach; Messiah College wins another national championship

Recently retired Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark holds up the College Cup trophy his team won in Chester in December 2013
Mike Bennett / Lighthouse Imaging

College soccer legend Bobby Clark has coached hundreds of players in his career spanning four decades, but only one can claim to have scored the game-winning goal that brought him his first and only College Cup title in 2013.

That’s West Chester native Andrew O’Malley, who headed home a Harrison Shipp free kick in the 60th minute that held up to give the Irish their first national championship in a 2-1 win over Maryland at the stadium formerly known as PPL Park in Chester in December 2013.

“It was definitely a crazy dream that I don’t think I would have even come up with on my own,” O’Malley said in a recent interview of the 2013 College Cup. “I don’t think I imagine things that lofty.”

The Salesianum grad spent five years in South Bend under the coach he and everyone who played for know simply as “boss.”

“Boss’s legacy is his consistency and getting teams ranked and keeping us competitive year after year while getting players graduating,” said O’Malley, who is a civil engineer in North Jersey. “All of us have great jobs and we’re all set up well.”

O’Malley said he didn’t know much about the former Scottish national team goalkeeper when he first went to Notre Dame on a recruiting trip. Clark took over the program in 2001 after coaching Stanford, the New Zealand national team, Dartmouth and Highlanders FC in Zimbabwe.

“The way he kept and graduated his players and the way they respected him was something I didn’t see at other universities,” O’Malley said. “I knew after the visit that he was the real deal.”

O’Malley isn’t the only player with local ties to have played for “boss.” Lumberton, N.J. native Ryan Finley starred at Notre Dame from 2011-2012 and Philadelphia Union Academy grad Patrick Berneski (Warrington, Pa.), Senan Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.) and Aiden McFadden (West Chester, Pa.) were all on this year’s Irish team.

Messiah College overcame an an early goal just 1:12 into the match to beat North Park 2-1 and capture the program’s 11th national championship in Greensboro, North Carolina last Saturday.

Hershey native Ben Haines picked a great time to score his first career goal, delivering the eventual game winner with 33 seconds left in the first half. Doylestown native Justin Brautigam scored the equalizer in the fifth minute.

The win was the 11th in program history in 11 national title games for the Falcons, which is good enough for second in NCAA soccer to only the Division 1 North Carolina women’s team with 21 titles.

Continental FC defender Nick Liddy, who played for the Philadelphia Union Academy for three seasons, is currently in the hospital after being in a car accident involving a drunk driver. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the family pay his medical bills.

Penn Fusion Academy and Penn Wood High School midfielder/forward Andrew Nmah committed to Division 2 Tiffin University for next fall.

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