December 14, 2010

Video: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of 1985 Men’s Soccer’s National Championship Game Run

Twenty-five years ago to the day, the American University men's soccer team etched its place in the record books with the greatest postseason run in school history.

American stood tall to the "big boys" of collegiate soccer in this magical year. After disposing of every hurdle in its way through the NCAA Tournament, American found itself paired against UCLA in the NCAA Division I National Championship Game, in what some consider -- still to this day -- to be the greatest collegiate soccer game ever to be played. 

The Eagles began the 1985 season by winning 12 of its first 13 games as they captured the Colonial Athletic Association title. After sweeping George Mason and South Carolina in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament by scores of 3-1 and 2-0, respectively, the Eagles began preparing for a national semifinal matchup with Hartwick College at Reeves Field. In one of the most electric atmospheres in school history, American netted the game's lone goal before a raucous home crowd to earn the victory.

"When Fernando Iterbi scored a goal in the 77th minute to give us a 1-0 lead, I've never heard a sound like that at this university," remarked AU alumnus and current Turner Sports broadcaster David Aldridge '87. "There was a feeling of camaraderie that transcended everything…we were all celebrating this incredible accomplishment by this incredible team."
 
Exactly 25 years ago on December 14, 1985, on the astroturf of Seattle's Kingdome, the Eagles and Bruins fought for nearly two and a half hours in the NCAA championship match. All-American and NCAA Player of the Year Michael Brady '86 had one of the game's best scoring opportunities in the first half, but his 25-yard shot sailed just wide right. AU controlled play in the first 45 minutes, outshooting the Bruins by a 10-2 margin, although AU was unable to register a goal.
 
The match turned when AU had a man sent off in the second half, forcing the Eagles to play with only 10 for the rest of the match. Despite facing this uphill battle, American stood strong against the Bruins and the match remained scoreless after 90 minutes. Five-minute sudden overtime periods began, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.
 
Unfortunately for the undermanned American squad, UCLA finally broke through in the 167th minute on a goal by defender Andy Burke to seal the national title. The final whistle blew nearly four hours after the match had begun, marking the longest game in NCAA soccer history.
 
While the Eagles were unable to secure the final victory, the 1985 squad is still remembered to this day as the most successful team in American University Athletics' history.
 
Watch the following video as Aldridge reflects on this team's magical run during last year's Stafford H. "Pop" Cassell Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Aldridge, a 1987 graduate, served as the editor of American's student newspaper "The Eagle" during his undergraduate days at American.

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of 1985 Men’s Soccer’s Championship Game Run

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1985 American University Men's Soccer Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Hometown
- Stephen Pfeil GK 6-2 180 Jr. Middle Village, N.Y.
- Richard Confalone GK 5-8 150 So. Maplewood, N.Y.
3 Troy Regis $
D 5-8 130 Sr. Diego Martin, Trinidad
4 Keith Trehy ^+$
D 5-7 148 Jr. London, England
5 Adrian Gaitan M 5-11 150 Fr. Oceanside, N.Y.
6 Serge Torreilles M/D 5-9 150 Fr. Pau, France
7 Eduardo Estinto M 5-11 165 Sr. Crofton, Md.
8 Henry Wagner M 5-9 140 Jr. Severna Park, Md.
9 John Diffley M 5-9 155 Fr Clarkstown, N,Y.
10 David Nakhid +$
M 5-10 155 Jr. Champs Fleurs, Trinidad
11 Barry Henderson F 5-7 140 Sr. St. Joseph, Trinidad
12 Mike Russell D 5-9 150 Jr. Arlington, Va.
14 Michael Brady *^+$
F 5-10 165 Sr. Manchester, England
15 Billy Corbett F 6-1 165 Fr. Olney, Md.
16 Stephen Marland F 6-0 170 Fr. Ellesmere Port, England
17 Fernando Iturbe M 5-10 170 Sr. Madrid, Spain
19 Duane Gonzalez D 6-2 165 Sr. Diego Martin, Trinidad
22 Glen Buchanan D 6-2 180 Sr. Annandale, Va.

Head Coach: Pete Mehlert
Assistant Coach: Ken Krieger

* 1985 NCAA National Player of the Year
^ 1985 All-America selection
+ 1985 All-South Atlantic Region
$ 1985 All-Colonial Athletic Association


1985 American University Men's Soccer Schedule/Results - 19-3-2 (6-1 CAA)

Opponent Result
Indiana (Pa.) W, 8-1
Maryland W, 1-0
at Florida International & W, 2-1 (OT)
vs. Tampa & W, 2-1
at Georgetown W, 4-0
Howard T, 1-1 (OT)
East Carolina * W, 2-0
UNC-Wilmington * W, 1-0
at Old Dominion W, 2-0
Loyola (Md.) W, 1-0 (OT)
George Washington W, 3-1
at Towson State W, 3-1
at Catholic W, 8-0
William and Mary * L, 1-0
George Mason * W, 1-0 (OT)
at Clemson % L, 1-0
vs. Davis & Elkins % T, 3-3 (OT)
at James Madison * W, 6-1
Navy * W, 1-0
at Richmond * W, 6-0
George Mason @ W, 3-1
at South Carolina # W, 2-0
Hartwick $ W, 1-0
vs. UCLA ^ L, 1-0 (8OT)

Italics denotes home match
& Sunblazer Invitational (at Miami, Fla.)
* Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) match
% Clemson Umbro Invitational (at Clemson, S.C.)
@ South Atlantic Regional Final (NCAA Tournament at Reeves Field)
# NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals (at Columbia, S.C.)
$ NCAA Tournament Semifinals (at Reeves Field)
^ NCAA Tournament Championship Game (at Kingdome, Seattle, Wash.)

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