DURHAM, N.C.—After four days of arduous preseason training, the Duke men’s soccer team is looking forward to taking on fresh faces when South Carolina visits Koskinen Stadium Sunday. The Blue Devils and Gamecocks kick off at 7 p.m., in the teams’ first exhibition outings of the 2017 season. Admission to the game is free. DURHAM, N.C.—After four days of arduous preseason training, the Duke men’s soccer team is looking forward to taking on fresh faces when South Carolina visits Koskinen Stadium Sunday. The Blue Devils and Gamecocks kick off at 7 p.m., in the teams’ first exhibition outings of the 2017 season. Admission to the game is free.
Fans can follow the live stats on GoDuke.com and Duke Men’s Soccer on Twitter to stay abreast of the game, but no live stream will be available for the exhibition.
Quick Glance at the Gamecocks
South Carolina brings a new look into 2017 with 14 newcomers, including five transfer student-athletes. The Gamecocks recently were picked to finish fifth in Conference USA and landed three players on the preseason all-league squad. All-league choice Bjorn Gudjonsson headlines the offense after netting eight goals a season ago, while Peyton Ericson anchored the backline in his 16 starts. South Carolina went 5-2-1 in conference play last season and 11-8-1 overall, falling to Clemson in the NCAA Tournament. The program is fresh off consecutive trips to the second round of the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons.
Five Items to Know about the 2017 Blue Devils
A Look at the Blue Devils
Sunday evening’s contest will be the first game action for the 2017 Blue Devils. Duke features a 31-player roster this season with nine of those being newcomers to the program. Head coach John Kerr, in his 10th season, welcomes back nine starters from last year’s squad, including the team’s top six scorers from a year ago. Brian White, the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player from a year ago and this summer’s PDL MVP, is expected to lead the offense, while Markus Fjørtoft will anchor the defense in his final season as a Blue Devil. Both played for the New York Red Bulls U23 squad, leading the team to the the Mid Atlantic Division Title and PDL regular season title.
Duke’s International Flavor
The Blue Devils’ roster has an international flavor with nine different countries represented, including the United States. Duke brought in freshmen from Austria, Iceland and Italy this season and has returning players from Argentina, Norway, Peru, Canada, Austria, and Scotland.
Nicolas Macri: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Max Moser: Brengenz, Austria
Matthias Frick: Feldkirch, Austria
Kevon Black Brampton, Ontario
Oliver Spring Toronto, Ontario
Kristófer Garðarsson: Akranes, Iceland
Daniele Proch: Riva Del Garda, Italy
Torbjørn Alseth: Trondheim, Norway
Markus Fjørtoft: Asker, Norway
Miguel Yzaga: Lima, Peru
Ciaran McKenna: Glasgow, Scotland
Pulisic Joins Blue Devils after Year in Germany
Rookie goalkeeper Will Pulisic arrived in Durham one year after signing his NLI as he elected to train in Germany. The Virginia native played with Borussia Dortmund’s U19 squad, making eight appearances and posting four shutouts in 720 minutes of action. He has been a mainstay with the U.S. youth national teams, debuting for the U17 squad in 2013.
Blue Devils’ Busy Home ScheduleDuke features a busy home slate in 2017 with 12 games being played at Koskinen Stadium and only five on the road. Featured on the home schedule is a matchup with Big Ten foe Wisconsin Sept. 19. The Badgers went 11-4-4 overall last season and 4-2-2 in league play. Duke hosts ACC opponents Virginia Tech, Louisville, Clemson and Virginia, all of which are ranked in the preseason top 25. The 2017 campaign officially kicks off the final weekend in August with the John Rennie Nike Invitational. The Blue Devils welcome Central Florida and Fordham for contests Aug. 25 and 27, respectively.
It was a busy summer as Blue Devils continued to improve their game by playing with PDL or NPSL teams. Brian White had quite the breakout for the New York Red Bulls U23, scoring 17 goals and 37 points overall in just 14 games. He is currently listed as the top prospect on the PDL prospect list. Cody Brinkman had a strong summer playing with the North Carolina FC, while also interning locally. Brinkman was voted to the PDL Team of the Week following his two-goal outing against Max Moser’s Tobacco Road FC club. Junior Ciaran McKenna saw quality minutes with the Jacksonville Armada U23s, while Jack Doran netted four goals and an assist for FC Boston. Carter Manley and Brandon Williamson both honed their skills with DC United