San Jose, Calif. - Members of the San Jose State University men's soccer program are ready to report in preparation for the start of the 2009 season.
Ten letterwinners, five of them starters, alongside six other returners from a year ago, no fewer than 10 newcomers, and a number of walk-on and tryout hopefuls are expected to report to South Campus for physicals and initial team meetings on Friday afternoon, August 14.
The Spartans, led by head coach Gary St. Clair in his milestone 20th season in charge at his alma mater, will begin training with their traditional three straight days of three-a-day practices the following morning on Saturday, August 15. Sessions will begin at 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Saturday's first activity will be the annual two-mile run. All practices take place at Spartan Field on the corner of 10th and Alma streets on South Campus, and are open to the public. Start times are tentative and always subject to change.
San Jose State will host Cal State Monterey Bay of the NCAA Division II and California Collegiate Athletic Association in a lone exhibition game ahead of the 2009 campaign, on Friday, August 28. Kick-off on the new FieldTurf inside Spartan Stadium is set for 5:00 p.m., as the first half of the first of two Spartan Soccer doubleheaders this season. The women's team takes on San Diego State in a match slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.
St. Clair's squad contests its regular-season opener four nights later, on Tuesday, September 1, against 2007 and 2008 NCAA Championship participant UC Davis. The action at Spartan Stadium begins at 7:00 p.m.
Both San Jose State soccer programs, complete with coaches and players, will attend their annual Kick-Off Night at the Silicon Valley Capital Club in downtown San Jose on the evening of Wednesday, September 2. Each squad will then subsequently hit the road for four-game swings over the following two weekends.
The Spartans will be led in 2009 by the veteran senior foursome of Nick Cukar, Brian McGuire, Oscar Monjaras and Colby Moore, as well as junior midfielders Josh Boemecke and Ricky Dorrego, a San Jose native. Cukar tied for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation lead with nine goals a year ago, including game-winners in seven of the Spartans' nine victories.
San Jose State went 9-5-4 overall and 5-4-1 in finishing third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings for a second successive season. In 2009, the Spartans will be looking for a third straight winning season and a first NCAA Championship appearance since 2003.
The Spartans will need to replace a large chunk of their defense, with center backs Ed Brand and Sam Shore, outside back Gavin Wenyon and the goalkeeping tandem of Richard Mann and Lewis Sweeney all having completed their eligibility. Holding central midfield stalwart Hiroki Akiyama has also graduated.
St. Clair is joined on his staff this season by 20th-year associate head coach Ron Smare, seventh-year assistant coach Chris Behler and second-year volunteer assistant coach Dan Benton, like St. Clair a former standout goalkeeper for the Spartans.
Individual game tickets for Spartan Soccer go on sale on Monday, August 17. Prices are $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for youth aged 12 and under, and $1.00 for youth in soccer jerseys. San Jose State students, as always, can attend all matches free of charge with a valid Tower ID card. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount. Gates open one hour prior to the start of a match.
San Jose State University Men's Soccer Preseason Practice Schedule
(All training sessions are scheduled for Spartan Field at 10th and Alma Street, and open to the public. Schedule is partial and always subject to change.)
Friday, August 14: Report date, physicals and initial team meetings
Saturday, August 15: 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 16: 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Monday, August 17: 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 18-Sunday, August 23: TBA
Sunday, August 23: Student-Athlete Orientation 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Monday, August 24: No training (First day of instruction)
Friday, August 28: Match vs. Cal State Monterey Bay 5:00 p.m. (Exhibition-Spartan Stadium)
Tuesday, September 1: Match vs. UC Davis 7:00 p.m. (Season Opener-Spartan Stadium)
Wednesday, September 2: Soccer Kick-Off Night 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Silicon Valley Capital Club)