Geneva grad Turnbull turning away shots at Notre Dame

  • Geneva graduate and Notre Dame goalie Duncan Turnbull is 2-0 in goal this year after going 6-2-2 with 6 shutouts in 2018.

    Geneva graduate and Notre Dame goalie Duncan Turnbull is 2-0 in goal this year after going 6-2-2 with 6 shutouts in 2018. Photo courtesy of Notre Dame

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/10/2019 3:35 PM

Geneva graduate Duncan Turnbull is studying accounting in college.

The Notre Dame senior became hooked on the subject matter after taking an introductory class sophomore year.


"It clicked for me," he said. "I found it interesting and I was pretty good at it. I thought I could make a career out of it. Ideally, I would I would like to work for one of the big four accounting companies in Chicago."

On the soccer field, an accounting of Turnbull's numbers indicates a strong return. He's in his final season with the Notre Dame men's soccer team that is off to a 3-0 start after reaching the NCAA quarterfinals last year.

Turnbull is 2-0 in goal with a 2.00 goals-against average, coming off a 2018 campaign where he went 6-2-2 and recorded 6 shutouts, including two in the NCAA postseason. Turnbull made two key saves in Notre Dame's 12-round shootout win over Michigan in the round of 32. Turnbull did not play in a game his freshman and sophomore seasons.

"I think I'm dealing with the game better, and things such as crosses coming through the box," he said. "I am commanding my area better and that helps our team a lot. As a goalie, you are expected to control the whole box. Anything that comes in there is yours to deal with. It's an important skill to develop with handling loose balls in the box. That takes pressure of the back line when there are those long balls in the box."

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Turnbull added his 6-foot-7 frame comes in handy playing goalie at the NCAA Division I level.

"I can use my size to win balls in the air and take pressure off the back line," he said. "I help my team out that way. I like to think it's harder to score when they don't get as many shots off. So coming out and getting those balls really helps out."

Turnbull said he can boot a ball out of the box 60 yards or so, but it's not all about distance.

"That's another aspect of being a goalie. I probably touch the ball with my feet just as much if not more than I do with my hands," he explained. "You have to accurately pass to teammates and get that ball down the field. I spend a lot of time with my feet. I can get the ball to the other half, but it's more about being accurate than kicking it as far I can. I have to try and find my teammates."

Turnbull said he enjoys playing the demanding position because of the panoramic view he has, as he explained. "I like being behind and seeing the whole game and being able to communicate and help organize the team," he said. "I can see everything back there. It helps when I can see things behind them and call it out before it happens."

He admitted coming up big with a save isn't the worst feeling in the world. "Making a big save and the adrenaline rush that comes with that, you can't beat that," he said.


Turnbull got into the sport through his father, who played at Akron. "My dad came over from Scotland and played at Akron and now he's played the sport his whole life," he said. "He started coaching my teams when I was little and that got me into it. He introduced me to the sport and coached me, and now helps out whenever he can. He was a field player. I happen to be good at goalie and he's supported me through that."

Turnbull, a Manchester United fan and a fan of that side's long string of elite goalies, said playing at Geneva and for the Sockers FC academy helped prepare him for Notre Dame.

"Division I soccer is demanding," said Turnbull. "It's a high level, and you are balancing school and soccer. It's a lot. High school and club where I was doing school and soccer at the same time prepared me for this. Being in my senior year now, I have a routine down and that definitely helps."

Post-Notre Dame, Turnbull would like to play the sport for as long as he can whether that be MLS or over in Europe. "It would be wherever," he said. "I just want to play for as long as I can. It's all up in the air right now, but that's exciting. I need to have a good senior year here. It would be a good problem to have to choose where to play next season."

But right now, Turnbull is digging his Notre Dame experience. "It's amazing here," he said. "I think Notre Dame is the best combination of academics and athletics in the country. The business school (Mendoza College of Business) is consistently ranked in the top five if not No. 1, and the soccer team is the same way. It's nice to have that balance. The whole atmosphere surrounding Notre Dame is incredible. It's a very special place."

And Turnbull is part of a Fighting Irish team that is off to a nice start on young season.

"You can't ask for much more," he said. "ACC games start on Friday (at home against Clemson). We're off to a good start and now we have to build on it and keep moving forward, and hopefully we can win some trophies this year."

Off at College wants your help: Send information and/or statistics on Fox Valley-area athletes playing collegiately to Mike Miazga at Fall sports submissions are encouraged.

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