2005 Maryland Men's Soccer: BREAKING THROUGH

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Sasho Cirovski came to Maryland in 1993 to resurrect a once-prolific program
that had been to the postseason just once in the previous 16 years.

 

After a rough first season, Cirovski led the Terps to the NCAA Tournament in 1994.
By 1996, he had an ACC championship to his name. Cirovski and his team continued
to succeed on the big stage from 2002-04, going to three straight College Cups.

 

Entering the 2005 season, Maryland soccer was back on the map,
but still hadn’t been able to put everything together and win the big one.

Marc Burch's iconic celebratory leap following his free kick

that gave Maryland it's 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.

The Terps cruised for most of the 2005 season, finishing with a 14-3-1 record. The team stumbled in their second ACC tournament game, falling to Duke, but entered the NCAA tournament as a No.1 seed. They handled Brown and St. John’s, before beating Akron in penalties. Cirovski’s squad was back in the College Cup for the fourth straight season, looking for the program’s first national championship since 1968.

 

After dominating SMU, the Terps faced New Mexico for the title. In the 30th minute, Marc Burch’s free kick from 25 yards out was redirected and found the net. This would be all the Terps needed, finishing off the Lobos for a 1-0 victory. The program finally had the validation Cirovski had worked so hard for.

 

“It was a long four-year process where we kept coming up a little short, having fantastic years and just a little empty,” Cirovski said. “I just remember the most incredible sense of relief one could possibly have.”

 

Cirovski had already built a strong foundation, but the victory elevated the program to new heights. The coach had a new boast to add to his recruiting pitch after his team had been seen celebrating a title on national television.

 

“We were always able to do a good job in recruiting but that made it a little bit easier,” Cirovski said. “For whatever reason, that game seemed to have been watched by a lot of recruits and we were able to take advantage. We won a national title three years later with some of the recruits that we were able to pick up as a result of that success.”

 

Jason Garey celebrates with the NCAA championship
trophy, which symbolized the culmination of a four-year journey.

“We went to three College Cups in a row before that and never got it done. … It was just a feeling of happiness and joy and relief of actually getting it done”

- Jason Garey, 2005 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Winner

Chris Seitz stopped a penalty kick in the 50th minute
to preserve the 1-0 lead for the Terps.

Maurice Edu was a key component of a Maryland defense that allowed

just three goals in five NCAA tournament matches in 2005.

The 2005 team featured one of the strongest and most professionally successful rosters in college soccer history. Midfielder Maurice Edu and goalkeeper Chris Seitz were selected in the MLS SuperDraft the following year, first and fourth overall, respectively. Midfielder Graham Zusi was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards (later renamed Sporting Kansas City) in 2009 and is currently on the U.S. national team. He had two assists in the 2014 World Cup, including a memorable corner kick to John Brooks for the game-winning goal against Ghana.

 

Senior forward Jason Garey won the Hermann Trophy as the nation’s top player and was chosen third overall by the Columbus Crew in the MLS SuperDraft. Garey led the Terps in goals and points in 2005, finishing his career as the program’s all-time leader in both categories. After three consecutive semifinal losses, he helped the Terps to a title in his final opportunity.

 

“It was just the culmination of being at Maryland for three and a half years and finally feeling like we finished the job,” Garey said. “We went to three College Cups in a row before that and never got it done. … It was just a feeling of happiness and joy and relief of actually getting it done, in my last chance.”

 

A.J. DeLaGarza started the title game as a freshman and was also part of the 2008 championship team. He was selected by the L.A. Galaxy in 2009 and has also played for the U.S. and Guam national teams. DeLaGarza was there for the program’s rise to being a national power, seeing the success of the 2005 championship manifest itself in another title three years later.

“I think it was just the kick-start to what this program could do and kind of what we did do,” DeLaGarza said. “We got some pretty good players after 2005. Since we won that I think we just attracted more and more [quality] players.”

 

Maryland is now in the national championship conversation every season. Cirovski’s team has received an NCAA tournament bid in 14 consecutive seasons, included a return to the championship in 2013. The Terps won the 2014 Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in their first season in the conference. Cirovski took over a downtrodden program and developed it into a perennial powerhouse, and knows he cemented Maryland’s elite status with that 2005 title.

 

“We’ve got a seat at the table of the big boys and we’ve been sitting at that table ever since.”

 

Match Recap
Title Terps! Men's Soccer Claims NCAA Title

CARY, N.C. - Marc Burch scored in the 31st minute and the goal stood up the rest of the way as the Maryland Terrapins claimed the 2005 NCAA championship, 1-0, Sunday afternoon over New Mexico. The Terps claimed their first national championship since 1968.

 

Jason Garey was named the tournament's offensive MVP, and Chris Seitz was the defensive MVP. Maryland is the first team since 1992 to win the tournament as the No. 1 seed and Seitz is the first freshman goalkeeper to lead his team to the championship since 1990.

 

"I was proud of the way we played," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "The national championship game is not always going to be the most artistic game, and yet we tried to attack, we tried to get chances, we tried to play the right way. I'm really proud of that. I need to congratulate New Mexico on a great season and a great ascension into the elite ranks of college soccer because they're going to be a program that's going to be around for a long time. They have great fans, they have great coaches and they have great players. We look forward to playing them in the future."

 

The Lobos had the first good chance of the game early on a long throw-in and shot that was saved by Chris Seitz. The Terps then controlled the game and put pressure on the New Mexico defense getting several opportunities inside the 18-yard box. The Terps did not break through, though, until Burch's free kick put Maryland up 1-0 in the game's 31st minute. He took the free kick from 25 yards after Chris Lancos dribbled through the Lobo defense and was pulled down by a defender. Burch's free kick made it through the wall and rolled into the lower left corner of the net.

 

The Lobos countered with a pair of chances on a free kick of their own just outside the box. Seitz made a save on the shot and Josh Brown's rebound missed just right. New Mexico had another scoring opportunity several minutes later on a corner kick, but Andrew Boyens' header just sailed over the crossbar and the Terrapins took a 1-0 lead into halftime. Maryland held a sizeable 11-5 advantage in shots in the first 45 minutes.

 

New Mexico came out strong in the second half pushing forward and earned a penalty kick in the 50th minute after a Terp defender was called for a handball inside the box. Seitz got a beat on the shot and dove to his right and stopped the shot by Boyens.

 

Maryland had a chance to push it to 2-0 with a flurry of activity in the 61st minute. Burch drew the goalkeeper off his line and in a scramble, the ball shot out to Stephen King, but a Lobo defender cleared the ball off the line. The rebound went to Jason Garey, but his shot missed high.

 

The Terps held off the Lobos the rest of the way, limiting any chances for New Mexico. For the game Maryland out-shot New Mexico, 19-11.

 

For Burch, it was his second game-winner of the 2005 NCAA Tournament. He also had the game-winning assist against St. John's.

 

All-Tournament Team

Jason Garey, Maryland

Chris Seitz, Maryland

Robbie Rogers, Maryland

A.J. Godbolt, Maryland

Michael Dello-Russo, Maryland

Andrew Boyens, New Mexico

Lance Watson, New Mexico

Mike Graczyk, New Mexico

Dane Richards, Clemson

Justin Moore, Clemson

Paulo da Silva, SMU

 

Most Outstanding Players:

Offensive: Jason Garey, Maryland

Defensive: Chris Seitz, Maryland

Chris Lancos drew the foul that led to Marc Burch's free kick.

“"I'll tell you this now: I love my guys, I love my university, I love my program, I love my players. One of the lessons you try to teach in this sport is the lesson of persistence. We have a saying in the locker room that says, 'The greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time you fall.' This program has shown that. We go out and play the best teams. We try to play soccer that is appreciated by the fans, appreciated by the media, appreciated by our players. For us to show this level of persistence in this day of parity and to come back here and to I believe rightfully win this game."”

- Head Coach Sasho Cirovski in the post-game press conference, following the NCAA championship match.

Breaking Through: The Story of the 2005 Maryland Men's Soccer Team
is a special presentation of umterps.com.

 

Charlie Wright is a junior journalism student at the University of Maryland and is a contributing writer to umterps.com.

 

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