Notre Dame completes 2020 signing class

February 5, 2016

Nearly one month after securing its initial signing of the spring period, the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team inked six additional student-athletes from the class of 2020 to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.

Joining midfielder Tommy McCabe (South Orange, New Jersey), a current freshman who enrolled at Notre Dame prior to the start of the 2016 spring semester, in the incoming Irish class of 2020 are midfielder Jack Casey (Morristown, New Jersey), midfielder Nick Cullen (Colorado Springs, Colorado), forward Spencer Farina (Wilmette, Illinois), defender Senan Farrelly (Havertown, Pennsylvania), forward John Rea (Tempe, Arizona) and goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull (Geneva, Illinois).

“I think this signing class is a solid group, and as I always say I will be able to better tell in three years how good they really are,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “We are very excited about this group, both as terrific soccer players and good students, this is a great academic group. Each player, collectively, is a good fit for Notre Dame in many ways. Everybody signing their classes at this time certainly thinks they’re good or teams wouldn’t be signing those players. It is up to these boys to come in and work very hard, keeping up the soccer culture that has been built here at Notre Dame.”

While McCabe is expected to see time with the Irish during the upcoming spring schedule, all seven student-athletes are officially eligible to join the Notre Dame roster for the 2016 regular season.

“Notre Dame is not for everyone, with the academics and athletics,” Clark said. “We stress that to recruits in that you come here for a double purpose, to get a soccer education and for the thing I always say that is going to last you 40 years and that’s your Notre Dame degree. It is a 40-year decision for all of these guys, and we want people who are interested in coming here for the best of both worlds. Be a good athlete but also be a good student.

“We’ve put over 35 players into the pros now and every single one of them has a Notre Dame degree, so we don’t see ourselves purely as a vehicle to produce professional players,” Clark added. “That has certainly been one of the byproducts, and we have possibly done it as well as anyone else, but at the same time I want incoming student-athletes to be aware that they will receive a top class education.”

2016 Notre Dame Men’s Soccer National Letter of Intent Signees

Jack Casey
5-10 • 160

Hometown: Morristown, New Jersey

High School: The Pingry School
Club Team: Players Development Academy (PDA)

PREP AND PERSONAL: Four-year soccer letterwinner at The Pingry School … played the first half of senior high school season before transitioning full-time to club team … was the Star Ledger High School Midfielder to Watch, Gatorade state player of the year nominee and was included on the boys high school All-America watch list enter senior high school season … named to the Soccer Coaches Association of New Jersey all-state first team as a junior after helping guide team to an 18-2-3 record and a non-public state championship … also earned first team all-conference, all-area and all-county honors … was an all-state choice on the 15-5-1 Pingry School roster as a sophomore, as the team claimed the Non-Public A State sectional championship … competed with the Somerset County, Skyland Conference and non-public state sectional champion Pingry School squad as a freshman, compiling an 18-3-2 record … earned letters in track as a freshman and senior, and holds the school record in the 1,600 meters … plays on the club circuit with the Players Development Academy (PDA), and was a teammate of fellow 2020 signee and current Notre Dame freshman Tommy McCabe … member of the 1997 Pre-Academy National Champions with PDA in 2013, along with the U-18 Academy National Championship club … served as team captain for the U-18 PDA squad … was a U.S. Soccer training center invitee from 2010-15 … has been a four-year honor roll recipient and was chosen as an AP Scholar … son of Jim and Alison Casey … has one brother, Ryan … has two sisters, Katlyn and Kyle … sister, Kyle, is in the class of 2018 at Notre Dame … sister, Katlyn, was a soccer letterwinner at Middlebury College … mother, Alison, played field hockey at Trinity University.

Coach Clark on Jack Casey: “Jack was a teammate at PDA with Tommy McCabe in New Jersey, so they are buddies from quite a long way back and have played soccer together for many years. Technically Jack reminds me of (Chicago Fire midfielder) Harry Shipp (’14) with some of his skills, and he can play any of the midfield positions across. I even saw him play as a fullback for his club team last summer so he brings versatility, but the big thing is he makes good decisions with the ball. He connects his passes and will be a great fit for Notre Dame the way that we play.”

Nick Cullen
6-2 • 165

Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado

High School: Pine Creek High School
Club Team: Real Colorado

PREP AND PERSONAL: Only competed in one season at high school level due to club soccer commitments … Pine Creek High School JV team finished with an undefeated 14-0 record during freshman season … has played for Real Colorado on the club circuit since 2012 … member of the ODP Region IV player pool in 2013 … spent two years with the Colorado Rush from 2010-12, and was named the Colorado Rush Boys Player of the Year in 2012 … the Rush were back-to-back champions of the Phoenix SC del Sol President’s Day tournament in 2011 and 2012 … began club career with Washington Premier FC in Tacoma, Washington in 2008 … tabbed as a 2015 Notre Dame soccer camp all-star … has been named to the principal’s honor roll in all four years of high school, and is a member of the National Honor Society … son of Chris and Annie Cullen … has one brother, Alex … has one sister, Ashley … father, Chris, played soccer at the U.S. Air Force Academy … mother, Annie, played tennis at the University of Colorado … uncle, Richard Cullen, was a goalkeeper at Air Force and was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft before playing three seasons with the Seattle Sounders of the United Soccer League’s (USL) A-League.

Coach Clark on Nick Cullen: “Nick played for Real Colorado as his academy team, and we saw him best when he came to camp last summer. We really liked what we saw, and Nick makes great decisions and is a very smart player. He is another midfield player, and you tend to recruit more midfielder players because in club and high school soccer the best players are often in the midfield. We will see where Nick ends up but I loved the way he connected his passes and the decisions he makes.”

Spencer Farina
6-3 • 180

Hometown: Wilmette, Illinois

High School: New Trier Township High School
Club Team: Chicago Magic PSG

PREP AND PERSONAL: Transitioned to academy soccer full-time prior to senior season of high school … was an all-conference and all-section choice for the 21-4-4 New Trier High School team as a junior, finishing as the team leader in assists … leading scorer as the co-captain of the undefeated freshman team during first high school campaign, while also spending time at the JV level … has competed with the Chicago Magic on the club circuit since 2013 … team won the US Youth Soccer Illinois State Cup in May of 2015, the USYS Region II championship in June of 2015 and the USYS National Championship in July of 2015 … member of the Magic U-18 National Premier League (NPL) region champion in June of 2015 … Golden Boot winner for the 2014 NISL Chicago NPL U-16 champion … reached USYS Nationals with the Magic in 2014, and was the leading scorer for the USYS Illinois State Cup U-16 championship team … 2014 USYS Region II U-16 champion … was part of the Chicago Magic Development Academy from 2013-14 … also competed on the club circuit with FC United from 2011-13 … selected as an Illinois State Scholar …  served as a grade 8 center referee for two years after previously earning experience as a grade 12 sideline referee for two years … son of David and Julie Farina … brother, Jeffrey Farina, is a sophomore forward on the Notre Dame soccer team … father, David, played football and wrestled at Princeton University.

Coach Clark on Spencer Farina: “The Farina family is growing at Notre Dame, and Spencer is similar to Jeffrey in many ways. They’re both big, tall lads and play as forwards, and they are capable of holding the ball up. Spencer has been at camp the last two years, and we also saw him last year with his Under-17 team the Chicago Magic that won the national championship. We saw them up at regionals and he did well on a good team, and this year Spencer is playing academy with the Magic Under-18s. We are looking forward to having another set of brothers, we have done an amazing job getting brothers here at Notre Dame. On this team there will also be Kyle Dedrick and Sean Dedrick as well. It is a testimony to Notre Dame as a school.”

Senan Farrelly
6-1 • 175

Hometown: Havertown, Pennsylvania

High School: The Haverford School
Club Team: Continental FC

PREP AND PERSONAL: Made the permanent transition to academy soccer prior to senior high school season … key defender as a junior on the 16-3-2 varsity team at The Haverford School that claimed the Inter-Ac conference championship and finished as a PAISSA semifinalist … Haverford School shut out opponents in 14 of 21 games during junior season … PAISSA runner-up after winning the Inter-Ac with a 17-5 record, including nine shutouts, as a sophomore … currently a team captain with the Continental FC USSDA on the club circuit … was previously with the Continental FC Premier club team from 2013-15, earning a Region I league championship in 2014 … serves as the head editor for the school literary magazine and the editor-in-chief of the school yearbook … three-time National Latin Exam Gold Medalist … son of Sean and Jonell Farrelly … has two sisters, Sinead and Deirdre … sister, Sinead, was the 2010 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and a two-time NSCAA All-American at the University of Virginia, and currently plays for the Boston Breakers of the NWSL.

Coach Clark on Senan Farrelly: “I first saw Senan at the Disney tournament about 15 months ago and he and his team impressed me. He was playing for the Continental Under-17 team at the time and he really stood out, there was a calmness to him and he made great decisions with the ball. We tracked him a bit and asked him to come to our ID camp in the summer, and he continued to make good decisions on-ball. We see Senan as a central defender but he really can play at any position on the back four, he has the ability as a fullback or a central defender. He is a solid player.”

Tommy McCabe


5-11 • 165

Hometown: South Orange, New Jersey

High School: IMG Academy – Bradenton, Florida

Club Team: Players Development Academy (PDA)

PREP AND PERSONAL: Enrolled at Notre Dame in January of 2016 after spending the previous three years in the United States Soccer Under-17 Residency Program … becomes the second Irish player to have joined the program from the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program, along with Brendan King (’12) … played for the U.S. U-17s in the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile … two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Youth All-America selection (2014 and 2015) … competed during freshman season at the Delbarton School in New Jersey, winning the Non Public A state championship with the Green Wave after the team posted a 23-1 record … played on the club circuit with PDA alongside fellow Notre Dame signee Jack Casey, claiming the 2012 U-15 National Premier League (NPL) National Championship … son of Tom and Susie McCabe … has one sister, Maggie … father, Tom, was a goalkeeper at Princeton University … mother, Susie, played field hockey and lacrosse at Princeton … enrolled in Notre Dame’s First Year of Studies program.

Coach Clark On Tommy McCabe: “Tommy will be sort of a tweener now because he is already here on campus with the current freshmen group. He has the chance to establish credibility in the spring, which is a great advantage but obviously not a situation that everyone is in. Tommy can play what they call the number six, which is a defensive midfielder, he can play a number eight, which is a two-way midfielder, and he can play a 10 (attacking midfield). The position I think he plays best is the six, defensive midfield player, and we didn’t have a true defensive midfielder in the lineup last year. We had one most recently with (Portland Timbers midfielder) Nick Besler (’15), who was a very talented defensive midfielder, and adding Tommy provides another option that gives us an opportunity to go back to that.”

John Rea

5-11 • 155

Hometown: Tempe, Arizona

High School: Corona del Sol High School
Club Team: SC del Sol

PREP AND PERSONAL: Playing senior high school season at Corona del Sol High School … named to the 2015 Arizona Soccer Showcase Best XI … competed as a junior at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, and won the SIMA varsity national championship … leading goal scorer for Arizona state champion Brophy College Prep as a sophomore, earning Golden Boot and all-tournament honors at the Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament (MAST) … began varsity career as a member of the state championship Brophy Prep squad as a freshman … 2014 regional finalist with SC del Sol on the club circuit … son of Perry and Brenda Rea …  has one brother, Angelo … has three sisters, Sydney, Estelle and Joanna … mother, Brenda, played soccer at the University of Western Ontario … uncle, Mike Rowe, played soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Coach Clark on John Rea: “John is another one of our camp participants, and he played for SC del Sol in Arizona. We saw him about three years ago as a younger lad at camp, and the first thing that impressed us with John was that he’s very fast. Spencer Farina and John are not unlike Jeffrey Farina and Jon Gallagher, as Spencer is a tall target and John is a smaller forward. Very similar to the older Farina and Gallagher, and it will be interesting to see if they mirror one another. John is very quick and last year he went to the Montverde Academy in Florida, one of the top club teams in the country and certainly a top high school, and he did well. We really like him, he has a great attitude and loves soccer, and it’s hard to coach speed. He’s got it and it’s a terrific asset for a forward.”

Duncan Turnbull
6-7 • 200

Hometown: Geneva, Illinois

High School: Geneva High School
Club Team: Sockers FC Chicago

PREP AND PERSONAL: Did not compete in high school soccer during senior year due to academy commitments … logged a 1.11 goals against average for Geneva High School as a junior, notching seven shutouts in 17 games to earn all-section, all-conference and academic all-conference honors … played basketball at Geneva during freshman year … starting goalkeeper for the U-17/18 USSDA Sockers FC Academy team … team captain of Sockers FC team that won the Midwest Development Division of the National Premier League (NPL) in 2015 … Sockers also reached the 2015 NPL National Finals in Indianapolis … previously played with the Chicago Fire Academy, finishing as the U.S. Club Regional champion in 2014 after placing as the regional runner-up in both 2012 and 2013 … selected as an Illinois State Scholar, and is a member of the Accelerated and Enriched Club, the National Spanish Honor Society and the National Honor Society … son of Neil and Sue Turnbull … has two brothers, Stuart and Ian … has one sister, Fiona … father, Neil, played soccer at the University of Akron … former Notre Dame women’s soccer captain Sammy Scofield (’15) attended the same high school.

Coach Clark on Duncan Turnbull: “Duncan is a big player, he is 6-7 and wears about size 15 shoes. He is a goalkeeper who we also saw at camp, our ID camp really has been one of our best avenues for finding players. He currently plays for the Sockers academy team in Chicago and we really think he has a lot of potential. Duncan has all the tools, he’s a big lad and has a good build, and he comes from good genes. His dad was from Scotland and came over and played at Akron many years ago, so his Scottish roots might have pointed me toward him. My first real coach in the pros was someone called Eddie Turnbull (with Aberdeen from 1965-71), so the name Turnbull always rings a bell with me. Duncan has all the tools and will continue to refine them all.”

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