Maryland will play Notre Dame for the NCAA championship today at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
If you are watching college soccer for the first time, there are several notable differences from the pro game:
1. The clock runs down, not up, and is official. No added time. Referee signals a time stoppage to the scoreboard operator.
2. Unlimited number of substitutes. Players who leave in the first half may return in the second. Players who leave in the second half may return.
3. Extra time is 20 minutes, not 30, and is golden goal, not played in its entirety.
My print-online preview traces the deep ties between the coaches, Sasho Cirovski and Bobby Clark, when they were both at Aberdeen FC under different circumstances when Alex Ferguson was in charge.
Records: Fifth-seeded Maryland 17-3-5, Third-seeded Notre Dame 16-1-6.
Announcers: Glenn Davis and Taylor Twellman.
Kickoff: 3:06 p.m. ET.
Weather: 40 degrees, mostly sunny, 17-mph wind.
Field conditions: Muddy.
Name-dropping: Notre Dame junior midfielder Nick Besler is the brother of U.S. national team defender Matt Besler. Nick was supposed to serve in his brother’s wedding this weekend. Instead, he, like his brother last Saturday at MLS Cup, is playing for a championship.
Road-trip eats: Philly Diner in Essington, Stargate Diner in Ridley Park.
Other NCAA soccer champions this season …
Division I women: UCLA.
Division II men: Southern New Hampshire.
Division II women: Grand Valley State (Mich.).
Division III men: Messiah (Pa.).
Division III women: William Smith (N.Y.).