OHIO CITY, Oh - Junior Nolan Spicer will be continuing his academic and soccer career at the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 2023. Spicer becomes the second Wildcat Soccer player to commit to the Fighting Irish in three years as Matthew McLaughlin ‘20 is a current Notre Dame Soccer program member.
Nolan Spicer has been a scoring machine for the Wildcats since beginning his varsity career his sophomore year. Spicer was the leading scorer in 2020 as the Wildcats went on to win a State and National Championship. Spicer, now a junior, is seeking to repeat as a State Champion, but for now, he gets to enjoy his commitment to the University of Notre Dame.
“A college choice is about opening doors for the rest of your life and what an amazing opportunity for the doors to open at Notre Dame for Nolan,” says Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin ‘85. “This is an exciting moment for him and his family.”
Spicer’s decision came on Monday night just days before the District Semifinal match against the Bedford Bearcats. “It is crazy; Notre Dame is academically one of the best in the country,” explains Spicer. ‘To be able to go and play there is special, and I never thought I’d be able to go to Notre Dame.”
This season for the Wildcats, the junior has totaled 20 goals and eight assists in what has been a phenomenal season. Spicer lives by the Soccer program’s motto of “every day.” “Every day is our team motto and I want to live by that, improving every day,” Spicer explains. “Each day, I want to work to become better and reach the goal of becoming a State Champion.”
The decision comes at an excellent time for Spicer, as he mentions that he could put all of his focus on the pitch instead of having the worry of college scouts watching him play. “This helps because I don’t have to worry about other coaches watching me,” Spicer says. “I can play my game and contribute to winning State Championships and being a good teammate.”
“All players bring different talents to the field; what Nolan brings is pretty sublime,” explains coach McLaughlin. “He does unexpected things, he has the surprise element on the field and it is exciting to watch.”
The Wildcats eclipsed 16-0-0 for the fourth time in program history as they would finish the regular season undefeated. Spicer has been an integral part of the success of the Cats this year on the pitch. “It is super special; there are so many good teams and players that have gone through this program,” says Spicer. “Being the fourth team to accomplish that goal is special, but we are not done; we want that State Championship.”
Spicer mentions his success on the field begins with his teammates and the communication they have on the field to set each other up for goals. “Just playing my game and being free on the field,” explains Spicer. “Putting my teammates in a good position, setting them up and putting the ball in the back of the net; we are having a lot of fun.”
“For all of our players and the program, the continuity and tradition of what we have done in the past is huge,” McLaughlin says. “Last season Nolan was our leading scorer as a sophomore on a team that won a State and National championship, he is out there doing what he loves and as hard as he works on the field, he is working just as hard in practice.”
Spicer is not a stranger to the postseason and understands what it takes to play at a high level in the OHSAA Tournament. “It is a lot different than the regular season; in the playoffs, it is win or go home,” says Spicer. “As a Saint Ignatius player, it is a lot different because there is a huge target on your back; we have to go in and focus on each game as it happens and not get caught looking ahead.”
The Wildcats are off to a good start in the tournament after a 12-0 win against the Barberton Magics last Saturday. The Wildcats will get back on the pitch on Wednesday at 6 p.m. as they take on Bedford for a berth into the District Championship. Spicer and the Soccer Cats will look to continue their winning ways as they seek the program’s 11th State Championship.