John Rennie Nike Invitational
August 25 & 27 | Durham, N.C. | Koskinen Stadium
BLUE DEVILS OPEN 2017 WITH ANNUAL TOURNAMENT
Duke opens the 2017 campaign with its annual John Rennie Nike Invitational. The Blue Devils host UCF and Fordham, with Elon being the fourth squad at the event. All four games will be streamed on ACC Network Extra and can be watched on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app. It will be the first official action of 2017 for all four teams.
DUKE BY THE NUMBERS
7 – Of the eight ACC teams ranked in the preseason top 25 Duke will face in 2017, including five in the top 10
85 – Percentage of points returning to Duke’s roster in 2017 - 62-of-73
9 – Newcomers to the program, including a pair of transfer student-athletes
0.61 – Duke’s goals against average in its 1-0-2 exhibition season, allowing two penalty kick goals in 295 minutes of play
12 – Home games for the Blue Devils in 2017
4 – Freshmen in the starting lineup in Duke’s final exhibition against No. 7 Indiana
6 – Seniors in the starting XI against the seventh-ranked Hoosiers
10 – Of Duke’s 11 starters who will return for the 2017 season
12 – Home games for the Blue Devils in 2017, including five to start the season
169 – Of the 5155 minutes Duke has played in the past three seasons in which Markus Fjørtoft has not been on the field
- Duke finished the exhibition portion of preseason with a 1-0-2 record, besting South Carolina 2-0 and tying both Xavier and No. 7 Indiana 1-1.
- Cameron Moseley netted both goals in the win over the Gamecocks, while center back Markus Fjørtoft converted penalty kicks in both of the draws.
- Duke was picked to finish fifth in the Coastal Division in the ACC preseason coaches’ poll.
- Overall, the Blue Devils return 22 players from last year’s squad and nine starters. Head coach John Kerr welcomes nine newcomers, seven of which are freshmen.
THE FIVE FEARLESS LEADERS
- The Blue Devils will be led by the five captains in Kevon Black, Cody Brinkman, Markus Fjørtoft, Carter Manley and Brian White. Black also served as a captain in 2016 and all five are likely starters and will play valuable minutes.
WHAT WE KNOW
- Duke’s defense will be tough to crack this season and its leader Markus Fjørtoft is a quality penalty kick taker.
- In three exhibition games, the Blue Devils sacrificed just two goals and those came on penalty kicks. That’s 295 minutes of soccer resulting in a 0.61 goals against average.
- Fjørtoft netted Duke’s two tallies, converting second-half penalties against both Xavier and Indiana.
- In the two games with official stats, Duke’s defense allowed just 13 shots and five on goal.
DUKE GOES TOE TO TOE WITH NO. 7 HOOSIERS
- The Blue Devils faced their most difficult test of the preseason against No. 7 Indiana and came away with a 1-1 draw. Both goals came from penalty kicks late in the second half.
- Duke featured three freshmen and a sophomore transfer in the starting lineup to go with five seniors. Overall, 17 Blue Devils saw the field with six of them coming off the bench.
- Will Pulisic made a pair of saves in his first full 90 minutes of the season. Duke generated eight corner kick opportunities compared to Indiana’s three.
- Central Florida begins a new era with head coach Scott Calabrese at the helm. The Knights are coming off a 5-11-0 season and are picked to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference.
- The Knights went 2-0 in preseason play, besting Tampa 9-1 and Georgia Southern 1-0.
- Matias Pyysalo, the reigning AAC Player of the Year, was the conference’s pick for Preseason Player of the Year. He tallied 14 points last season and had three game-winning goals. He has 50 points in his career (18g, 14a).
- Fordham comes to Durham after a 10-7-4 season in which it won the Atlantic 10 Championship to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship and lost to Boston College 1-0.
- The Rams played just one exhibition game, losing 3-0 to Boston University.
- Fordham returns a strong portion of its 2016 lineup, including Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year Janos Loebe as well as All-A10 selections Jannik Loebe, Matthew Lewis and Rashid Nuhu. Nine newcomers add to the lineup as the Rams look for their third conference crown in four years.
- The Loebe brothers will pace the offense after combining for 14 goals and 12 assists, 7g, 6a apiece, last season. Nuhu started all 19 games in goal and sported a 0.75 goals against average a .819 save percentage and seven shutouts.
GRUELING ACC SLATE
- The Blue Devils have a grueling ACC schedule this season in being scheduled to take on seven teams ranked in the preseason top 20. Five of those came in in the top 10.
|Sept. 8||VIRGINIA TECH||17|
|Sept. 16||vs. North Carolina||4|
|Sept. 22||at Syracuse||8|
|Oct. 20||at Notre Dame||10|
HOME SWEET HOME
- The Blue Devils feature a busy home schedule in 2017, playing at Koskinen Stadium 12 times. Duke starts the season on a five-game homestand and doesn’t play a true road game until Sept. 22 at Syracuse. Duke’s lone non-conference road game will be at Georgetown Oct. 9.
- Under John Kerr, Duke is 66-24-14 at home for a .702 win percentage. The Blue Devils’ best season was 2009, going 12-1-0 at home.
MOSELEY CAME ON STRONG
- Senior Cameron Moseley looks to pick up where he left off in 2016. The Georgia native hit his stride in the latter part of the 2016 season, scoring four goals in the final seven games after netting just two in the first eight.
- His 12 points were nine more than he had in 2015 and just two points shy of his first two campaigns combined.
VEERAKONE BACK AFTER STRONG ROOKIE YEAR
- Rookie Suniel Veerakone ranked second on the team in points with three goals and five assists for 11 points in 2016.
- Veerakone’s 11 points were the most by a rookie since Cameron Moseley also had 11 points in 17 games in 2014.
- The Michigan native finished the season ranked 23rd by Top Drawer Soccer among all Division I freshmen in 2016.
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
WHITE’S SPECTACULAR SUMMER
- Senior forward Brian White had a spectacular summer with the New York Red Bulls U23 squad. The New Jersey native led the PDL in goals, netting 17 in 14 games to earn the PDL Player of the Year award.
- He tallied four in one game en route to helping the Red Bulls capture the Mid Atlantic Division Title and PDL regular season crown. His success also landed him on top of the PDL Top Prospects List.
- It was a busy summer as Blue Devils suited up for PDL or NPSL teams. In addition to White, many players found success with their hometown clubs.
- Markus Fjørtoft joined White on the New York Red Bulls, serving as captain of the club that won the PDL regular season title.
- 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, which goes up against teams from both leagues.
INTRODUCING THE NEWCOMERS
- Kerr welcomed the addition of nine newcomers to the program this fall, including seven freshmen and two transfer student-athletes. The group consists of a trio of goalkeepers, a host of quality defenders and multiple midfielders and strikers to bolster the Blue Devil lineup.
- Graduate student Erik Hanson and sophomore Daniele Proch arrive as transfers. Hanson was a two-year starter in his four seasons at Brown. Proch comes from Catawba College where he led the team in scoring with 23 points.
- Matthias Frick and Kristófer Garðarsson are the two new international players, hailing from Austria and Iceland, respectively. Both excelled for their local clubs and are expected to have an immediate impace for the Blue Devils.
- Daniel Wright is the top rated rookie, coming in at No. 20 in the IMG Academy rankings. Playing for the Crew Soccer Academy Wolves, Wright had 21 goals in 24 games this past season to rank 10th among all academy players.
- Wilhelm Jacques played his club soccer for FC Boston Bolts. He started all 18 games at defense to help the Bolts secure a playoff spot.
- Stephen O’Connell will provide depth to the lineup after leading Black Rock FC to the New England Premiership Connecticut State title. Michael Reis will be a key addition to the goalkeeping corps. He played for FC Golden State Academy and started all 21 games in goal and posted six shutouts.
- Will Pulisic rounds out the group after his year of playing in Germany.
ALL IN THE FAMILIES
- Soccer success certainly runs through the Pulisic name. Will’s cousin, Christian Pulisic is a standout for the United States National Team and for Borussia Dortmund. Christian, only 19 years old, has played his way into the starting XI for the U.S. Will experienced success with Dortmund’s U19s before enrolling at Duke this summer.
- Suniel Veerakone must share a little bit of the limelight with his sister Rubina, who is a senior on the Michigan women’s soccer team. Rubina started 12 games for the Wolverines last season and recorded three assists.