Notre Dame's Joseph Lapira, Soccer America's College Player of the Year and the Hermann Trophy winner in 2006, joined the Ireland national team at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where it is preparing for the first of its two games on its U.S. tour against Ecuador on Wednesday at Giants Stadium. The Irish face Bolivia Saturday in Foxboro, Mass.
Lapira led all Division I scorers with 22 goals during the 2006 season. Nicknamed the "Ragin' Cajun," the Louisiana product debuted with the PDL's Baton Rouge Capitals on May 12 and is expected to train at Scottish club Aberdeen later in the summer before the start of his senior season at Notre Dame. Lapira, 20, qualifies to represent Ireland through his mother Kate.
Ireland coach Steve Staunton is bringing a young squad to the United States for the games. Manchester United's John O'Shea dropped out to receive treatment on his back.
GOALKEEPERS: Nicky Colgan (Barnsley/ENG), Colin Doyle (Birmingham/ENG), Wayne Henderson (Preston North End/ENG);
DEFENDERS:Alex Bruce (Ipswich/ENG), Derek Geary (Sheffield United / ENG), Stephen Kelly (Birmingham/ENG), Paul McShane (West Bromwich/ENG), Peter Murphy (Carlisle/ENG), Joseph O'Cearuill (Arsenal/ENG), Stephen O'Halloran (Aston Villa/ENG);
MIDFIELDERS:Joe Gamble (Cork City), Stephen Hunt (Reading/ENG), Stephen Ireland (Manchester City/ENG), Kevin Kilbane (Wigan/ENG), Darren Potter (Wolves/ENG);
FORWARDS:Kevin Doyle (Reading/ENG), Joseph Lapira (Notre Dame Univ.//USA), Shane Long (Reading/ENG) Alan O'Brien (Newcastle/ENG).