Clint Irwin will be a special guest on MLSsoccer.com's Playoff Central coverage Sunday, live from New York City. However, if you tune in, don't be surprised if he's a little distracted by another game.
The Rapids' goalkeeper was invited to join the on-air discussion surrounding the second-leg of the Western Conference Championship series between Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers, which is set for Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. MT (ESPN). At the same time, his alma mater, Elon University, will be playing top-ranked UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Division 1 Championships.
"It's going to be tough," Irwin told ColoradoRapids.com on Friday. "I'm hoping we can find a way to watch both games, but I'll probably be focused more on the MLS game just because that's my responsibility. But I'll definitely be getting updates and have one eye on the Elon game for sure."
Irwin is the second active player invited to join MLSsoccer.com's editors on the live webstream to provide analysis from a player's point of view. Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was a guest for the previous matches, and former MLS players such as Craig Waibel and Cory Gibbs have also participated.
"(MLSsoccer.com's Editor-in-Chief) Greg Lalas contacted me through twitter and asked if I'd be interested in coming to New York to do some stuff for the playoffs," said Irwin. "We just worked out the details from there. Some fans want to hear other players' perspectives, and I'm excited to do it."
Irwin said he will appear on the live pre and post-game shows, with the pre-game airing on MLSsoccer.com/live at 6:30 p.m. MT.
While looking forward to sharing his insight, he'll also be paying attention to Elon's match.
Two weeks ago Irwin went back to North Carolina and was asked by Elon coach Darren Powel to give the school's soccer team a pep-talk ahead of their conference tournament quarterfinal match. Elon went on to defeat Appalachian State on penalty kicks that day and then won their conference tournament. In Thursday's first round NCAA Tournament game, Elon defeated Clemson on penalties to advance to the second round for the first time in school history.
"I was on pins and needles during the overtime and penalties," Irwin said of watching the first round match online. "It was a whole lot more nerve-racking than actually playing in the game. It's so much harder to watch the games on TV when you're so invested in it, like me and some of the other alumni."
Irwin won't be able to talk to the team ahead of Sunday's match, but still offered his advice.
"I think for the players, they have to be excited for the opportunity," Irwin said. "They really have nothing to lose. I think all the pressure is on UCLA. I'm extremely proud of them, and I'm ready to see them beat UCLA on Sunday."