GENEVA – Staring at Geneva goalkeeper Duncan Turnbull’s frame often can be intimidating.
If his 6-foot-7 frame wasn’t enough, Turnbull now can relax and focus on his play after committing to the University of Notre Dame on Thursday.
After watching him play at Nationals last week, in Indianapolis, with his Schaumburg-based club team, Sockers FC, Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark asked Turnbull to come for a visit to South Bend, Indiana.
After touring the campus Thursday, Clark told Turnbull he wanted him as a part of the Fighting Irish program, to which he gladly accepted.
“The entire staff, especially coach Clark, is really supportive of the players,” Turnbull said. “It’s obviously a tremendous school, but the program has been successful over the last few years, so I’m hoping to go there and be a part of more success.”
The Notre Dame men’s soccer program won a national championship in 2013, and won the Atlantic Coast Conference this past season.
Turnbull said he had been in contact with a few other schools and had received scholarship offers from both Loyola University, in Chicago, and Yale University.
“I felt that, after a long recruiting process, Notre Dame was the best fit for me to continue my soccer career and develop to a better soccer player,” Turnbull said.
Of everything that committing to Notre Dame gives him, Turnbull said one big thing is it allows him to get the weight off of his shoulders and focus on having a great senior season at Geneva.
Vikings boys soccer coach Ryan Estabrook said he has coached a number of players who have gone on to play Division-I soccer, but not too many he can think of committed before his senior high school season.
“It’s definitely a positive thing to have him make this decision before the season,” Estabrook said. “It allows him to relax and have a good season, because there isn’t that uncertainty of what he’s going to do after high school is over.”
But the big advantage Turnbull has over many goalkeepers is his aforementioned stature. Standing 6-7 isn’t common in soccer, especially for a position that requires you to be athletic and quick on your feet.
“I think he’s finally starting to catch up with his body,” Estabrook said. “Duncan is also a kid that just has a tremendous desire to improve, but he’s also such a smart kid, so he’s really any college program’s dream at that position.”
Playing time always can be a factor in considering schools when playing a sport at the collegiate level, but this wasn’t a concern for Turnbull. This might have been one of the main things that drew him to South Bend, aside from the prestigious nature associated with the school.
The bottom line for Turnbull once he arrives at Notre Dame in a year’s time is that if he plays well, he gives himself an opportunity to be the No. 1 goalkeeper.
“They said whoever the best goalkeeper is will play,” Turnbull said. “They made it very clear that whoever they think is playing the best will get the nod. So I’ll be ready to go work hard and earn my place on the team.”
Lulek earns chance with Poland National Team: Amanda Lulek also made the city of Geneva proud after earning a place in the player pool for the Poland Women’s National Soccer Team.
The 2013 Geneva graduate is at the national team camp in Lawrence, Michigan, and played and had an assist in the exhibition game for Poland against the Michigan Lions club team. Lulek and her squad won, 5-2.
Lulek, a defender, will begin her junior year at Iowa. She said at this point it’s a bit of a waiting game to hear the next step, but is grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s something you dream about,” Lulek said. “To get to play for the country that my grandparents and a lot of my family came from is really just an amazing feeling. I have had so much support through everything and I really feel so honored to have this chance.
“From here, a lot depends on us (in the player pool) getting our Poland citizenship,” Lulek added. “Once we have that, it is a lot easier for them to call us to play over there, or compete in more camps or games here in the States. But for right now, the citizenship is the primary thing right now and then we just kind of wait and see what happens.”
Lulek said as of now there are no camps scheduled, but she has made great relationships with the other players who she had not really met before the camp.
“It’s been a great experience,” Lulek said of the camp. “We practice twice a day, but we have a good amount of free time to be around each other. Even though we all just met, it feels like we’ve been friends for a lot longer.”
Lulek, 20, will continue to play for Iowa this coming year and await the next step in her soccer career with the Poland Women’s National Team.