Andrew O’Malley is used to winning.
Notre Dame’s ultra-talented senior defender was a three-time state champion for nearby Salesianum (Del.) School in 2006, ’07 and ’08. O’Malley was a two-time Delaware Player of the Year and a three-time First Team All-State performer. He also played for FC DELCO and for various clubs from U-13 to U-16.
Along the way, O’Malley has done nothing but win.
He’s used to it.
“I’m pretty excited and every year, our goal is to get to the Final Four,” O’Malley said. “Our goal is to battle for a national championship and that’s really exciting for all of us. There’s a lot of buzz around our program and we can’t wait to get to the Final Four. It’s great to get there and we’ve worked so hard.”
To reach that elusive next level, the work will get even harder.
Notre Dame had never been past the Elite Eight until this season. The No. 3 Irish (15-1-6) will meet No. 7 New Mexico (14-5-2) in the first semifinal of the College Cup Friday night at PPL Park.
“It’s pretty special to be playing at PPL Park,” O’Malley said. “To be near where I played in high school and to have so many friends and family at the game is a great thing for me. I’m excited about the whole situation. It’s going to be exciting. It’s something I know that I will cherish and I know we’ll do everything in our power to keep winning and moving on.”
Since 2008, Notre Dame has had 14 players go on to be selected in the MLS SuperDraft. That’s the most from any school during that span. Maryland and Wake Forest have had 13 selections apiece.
Notre Dame junior midfielder Nick Besler is the younger brother of Matt Besler, who just won an MLS Cup championship with Sporting Kansas City. He’s also a two-time MLS All-Star.
“On our team, we all follow MLS and we all have teams that we follow and players that we follow,” O’Malley said. “I follow the Union and keep a close look at what they’re doing. I think for all of us, playing in MLS is a major goal down the road. We all want to be playing in that league and playing at that level. It’s a goal for me and all of us, I’m sure.”
For now, the immediate goal is to help the Irish win their first NCAA men’s soccer title.
“I think we’re very focused on the task,” O’Malley said. “We’re going to come to PPL Park and give it everything we’ve got to keep it going. I’m very excited and very much looking forward to the challenge.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org