DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke men’s soccer team officially kicks off its 2014 preseason training Wednesday morning. The Blue Devils will practice twice on the opening day as they prepare for their first exhibition match Aug. 16.
The Blue Devils will train tomorrow, Aug. 13, before heading to Virginia Beach for a few days prior to their scrimmage at Old Dominion Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. Duke hosts its first exhibition Aug. 19 at 7 p.m., against Radford.
In his seventh season at the helm of the program, head coach John Kerr welcomes back 16 letterwinners from the 2013 team, including 84 percent of its scoring from a year ago. In addition to the 16 returners, Duke features a class of 13 freshmen additions to the roster. The group includes players from nine different states and two countries – Canada and Norway – and features a pair of players who recently captured the US Soccer Development Academy National title.
Seniors Sean Davis and Jake Butwin and junior Zach Mathers will captain the squad in 2014. Davis, Duke’s playmaker in the midfield, will lead the offense along with sophomore striker Brody Huitema. The duo combined for 12 goals and seven assists for 31 points a year ago. Senior Nick Palodichuk will also be a key offensive contributor in his final season as a Blue Devil. He has played in 50 games and has 14 goals and 10 assists to his name.
Mathers, Duke’s utility player last season, has started all 36 games in his career and looks to provide a steady force on the Duke backline. Senior Nat Eggleston will provide possession as a holding midfielder as the Blue Devils look to fill the hole left by center back Sebastien Ibeagha.
A quartet of goalkeepers will be vying for the starting role in 2014. Simen Omholt-Jensen and Joe Ohaus come in as rookies, while senior Wilson Fisher and junior Wade Clement look to grab their first starting nods.
The Blue Devils officially open the season Aug. 29 in the John Rennie Nike Invitational. Duke takes on Loyola Marymount in the opener at 7:30 p.m.