LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s soccer team will open the 2014 season with the first of two exhibition matches at Northern Kentucky Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET in Highland Heights, Ky., at the NKU Soccer Stadium.
Kentucky will then host Georgia State in its final exhibition tune-up on Saturday night at the newly constructed Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. ET. UK will open its regular-season with a trip to Dayton, Ohio, to face Wright State on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.
UK in Exhibition Action
UK played Dayton and Northern Kentucky in exhibition contests last season, which saw both matches end in ties. Kentucky opened the season with an exhibition home opener vs. Dayton that ended in a 0-0 tie. In what has become an annual exhibition meeting between UK and NKU, the two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Highland Heights, Ky.
Former UK standout Tyler Riggs netted the lone goal vs. NKU in front of a NKU-record crowd of 1,462 at the NKU Soccer Stadium.
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, Wilson, Alex Bumpus, Bryan Celis, Kaelon Fox and Kristoffer Tollefsen). 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 $100,000 playing surface, a new video tower and a video board, it will immediately set the standard for college soccer facilities.