EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men’s soccer begins practice on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 8:45 a.m. with their first training session. The Spartans will conclude the final session of the day at 3:30 p.m. on the practice field.
MSU earned a preseason ranking of No. 22 by United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA).
Michigan State returns nine starters from last year’s team that finished 13-5-2 overall, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Among the returners are 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Giuseppe Barone and first-team All-Big Ten honoree Ryan Sierakowski. Also returning for the Spartans are second-team All-Big Ten honorees Jimmy Hague, Jimmy Fiscus and Ken Krolicki. On Wednesday. Sierakowski was also named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List on Tuesday.
This season, Michigan State will play another tough schedule. The Spartans will face six teams that advanced to the 2016 NCAA Tournament during its 17-game regular-season schedule, including four teams that finished in the NCAA RPI Top 25 and five teams that finished in the NSCAA Top 25 in 2016. MSU’s challenging schedule also includes seven opponents with 10 or more wins last season.
The Spartans will take on four teams ranked in the preseason top 25 led by No. 6 Maryland and No. 7 Indiana. Notre Dame is ranked No. 10, while Akron comes into the season at No. 16.
“Playing non-conference opponents from the ACC, Ivy League, MAC, A-10 and Horizon should really challenge us with a lot of different styles of play and environments. The Big Ten should be one of the best conferences in the country this year, so the entire schedule will really challenge this veteran group,” MSU head coach Damon Rensing said.
Under the Lights
For the first time ever, the Spartans will play night games at DeMartin Soccer Complex, as lights were installed this summer. The schedule features five night games at home during the 2017 campaign.
“We are really looking forward to the 2017 season. The combination of celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the 1967 National Championship Team, Joe Baum’s induction into the MSU Hall of Fame and the inaugural season of lights at DeMartin Stadium should bring a lot of excitement,” said Rensing.
Kicking Things Off
The Spartans will have a pair of exhibitions to open the 2017 campaign, beginning with a home game agianst Colgate on Tuesday Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. Michigan State will conclude the preseason schedule against Butler at the Shindigz National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Friday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. The Spartans will open the regular season where they ended the 2016 season against SIUE in Edwardsville on Friday, Aug. 25.