Soccer to Play International Friendly
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Just 13 days from the exhibition opener, the Kentucky men's soccer team has announced an international-friendly preseason match, as UK will travel to Memphis to take on storied Brazilian club Botafogo's under-19 squad, with kickoff set for 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 25 at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.
Kentucky will face off with the U-19 sqad of Botafogo, one of the most storied club teams in the world. Botafogo placed 12th in FIFA's "Clubs of the Century" poll in 2000. Currently, the senior club is the two-time defending Guanabara Cup Champions and is tied for eighth in the race for the Brazilian Championship.
"This gives us another opportunity to evaluate our players in preseason against some top-level competition and young professional players," said UK head coach Ian Collins. "We now have a great week of preseason games on Monday (at Dayton; Aug. 23), Wednesday (vs. Botafogo) and Friday (vs. Marquette; Aug. 27), and this will help us prepare for the extremely tough road we have ahead."
As a top exporter of talent, many Brazilian greats have passed through Botafogo over the years, including former stars Garrincha and Amarildo. To date, Botafogo has contributed the most players to the Brazilian National Team, with 70 players having advanced to the national team, including 46 players in the World Cup.
UK returns several players from a 13-win season in 2009, including All-Conference USA performers Matt Lodge and Brad Walker. Lodge, a native of Rossington, England, led UK in scoring with 14 points (six goals, two assists), pacing UK in game-winning goals (three) and shots (43). Walker, a defender out of Sydney, Australia, helped UK anchor a defense in 2009 that led C-USA in goals-against average (0.78).
Kentucky will open its regular-season with the annual University of Kentucky Invitational on Sept. 3, hosting Eastern Illinois in the season lid-lifter at 7:30 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.