Men's Soccer Hosts Final Exhibition Match on Saturday
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky men’s soccer team will take the field for its final exhibition match of the 2014 season on Saturday, Aug. 23, when the Wildcats host Georgia State at the brand new Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. ET. Admission is free for the exhibition contest.
For those that can’t make it out to the match, fans can tune into the SEC Network +, WatchESPN or WatchESPN app, as Neil Price will call the action on the digital platform.
UK will open its regular-season with a trip to Dayton, Ohio, to face Wright State on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m., before hosting Belmont in the regular season home-opener on Aug. 31 at 5 p.m.
UK in Exhibition Action
Freshman goalkeeper Stuart Ford – seeing his first collegiate action in place of first-team All-Conference USA keeper Callum Irving – worked a clean sheet in a scoreless draw at Northern Kentucky in the first exhibition of the season, in front of a NKU record 1,934 last Sunday night at the NKU Soccer Complex.
Kentucky and Northern Kentucky battled to a scoreless draw in the first exhibition tune-up for both teams in 2014. UK and NKU have played three consecutive years to open its preseason schedule, with NKU setting program records for attendance in all three meetings.
The Wildcats got a save from Ford, who helped anchor a UK defensive unit that surrendered just one shot on goal in the game. UK was led offensively by freshman Stefan Stojkovic, who fired a game-best four shots. UK also got shots from Kristoffer Tollefsen, Matt Quick, Jordan Wilson, Sam Miller and Hampus Agerstrom.
Kentucky finished with a 9-3 advantage in shots and a 4-1 advantage in shots on goal. The Norse had four corners in the game with the Wildcats getting two, with NKU owning a 18-11 mark in fouls.
Irving Named Preseason All-Conference
Kentucky junior goalkeeper Callum Irving has been voted preseason All-Conference USA by the league coaches. A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Irving earned All-Conference USA First Team honors in 2013. Irving started 16 games in the net, recording 46 saves and six shutouts, which ranked ninth in program history. He owned a goals against average of 1.09.
Recapping the 2013 Season
The Wildcats enter a new season on the heels of a 7-10-3 mark in 2013. UK went 3-4-2 in the Conference USA, while making it to the semifinals of the C-USA tournament.
Tyler Riggs led the Wildcats with six goals and 41 shots with 13 on goal during his senior campaign. Brad Doliner capped off his solid final season with five goals and 37 shots, including a team-high 16 on target. Justin Laird finished with a team-best six assists.
Irving, Doliner, Napo Matsoso and Steven Perinovic earned All-Conference USA honors in 2013, led by Irving on the first team. Doliner and Perinovic were both named to the second team, while Matsoso earned all-freshman team honors.
For their efforts during the Conference USA tournament, Irving, Charlie Reymann and Jordan Wilson were named to the C-USA All-Tournament Team. UK knocked off the No. 2 seed Old Dominion, 1-0 in overtime, in the first round of the tournament before falling 1-0 to the eventual champion, Charlotte 49ers.
UK returns 15 letterwinners from last season’s squad, including eight starters (Irving, Matsoso, Reymann, Tollefsen, Wilson, Alex Bumpus, Bryan Celis and Kaelon Fox ). Eleven newcomers will dawn the Blue and White for UK head coach Johan Cedergren, who enters his third year at the helm.
All Home Matches on SEC Network+
All 10 UK men's soccer home matches in 2014 will be featured on SEC Network+, as well as WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app, it was announced by the Southeastern Conference. Despite playing in the Conference USA for men's soccer, the SEC has received permission to broadcast all of the Wildcats' home contests on the digital platform.
With 10 home matches this season, the brand new Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex will see over 870 million possible unique visitors during the 2014 home season. With major satellite companies DirecTV and DISH signing deals with the SEC Network as well as Time Warner Cable and Comcast providers, over 87 million unique viewers will be able to watch the SEC Network at launch, and receive the SECN+ and digital platform of the network.
Brand New Home
The Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex will officially open on Aug. 31 with a dedication ceremony at Noon ET. Additionally, the stadium dedication will offer facility tours, youth clinics, face painting and more for all fans in attendance.
There will be free admission to all opening weekend matches, which feature two women’s matches (Francis Marion on Friday and Ohio on Sunday) and one men’s match against Belmont on Sunday afternoon.
The Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex will house separate facilities for the men's and women's programs, including new team rooms, player lounges, locker areas, coaches offices, press box and a gorgeous new grandstand. Combined with the 2011 additions of a $600,000 playing surface, a new video tower and a video board, it will immediately set the standard for college soccer facilities.