San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State women's soccer team will host # 22 Santa Clara and #17 California in the opening weekend of the 2008 season.
On Friday, August 22, the Spartans welcomes the Broncos of Santa Clara for a 7:30 p.m. match in Spartan Stadium.
"Santa Clara is nationally ranked and will be a very formidable opponent," said first year head coach Jeff Leightman. "It will be a big challenge for us to open with a team like that. We are going to have to rise to that challenge. We are excited. It is the first game of the season and our home opener. It is a rivalry series game, so it will be a battle. What we have to do is play to our top level. We will continue to improve throughout the season, but we need to bring our best performance on Friday night."
On Sunday, August 24, California comes south for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff in Spartan Stadium.
"California attacks relentlessly. It will be their opener, so they will be rested. They are very explosive team that is able to score a lot of goals; so we will have to be at our best in order to prevent that and provide attacks for ourselves.
"It is a very challenging beginning to our schedule, but the matches will only make us better. We have to rise to this challenge. As a team you don’t get better by living in your comfort zone. You have to challenge yourself and that is what this weekend will provide us."
California and Santa Clara are both ranked in the top-25 of the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll and participated in the 2007 Women’s College Cup.
Head Coach Jeff Leightman comes to San Jose State after 10 years as head coach at Binghamton University, where he amassed a 102-66-21 record, including in 2004, a 14-6-1 record, American East Conference regular season and tournament championship as well as a birth in the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Under Leightman’s leadership the Binghamton program went for a mediocre Division III squad to a regionally-ranked Division I power. In his first year the Bearcats were 14-3-1, nationally ranked and ECAC Champions. From 2001-07, his teams were consistently ranked by both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and by SoccerBuzz Magazine as a top-10 team in the Northeast Region.
“I have always structured my teams so that we are incredibly creative and effective in the attack,” stated Leightman. “We are going to attack with numbers and try to score lots of goals. We are going to play very entertaining and fun soccer, but we will also work relentlessly on defense.”