Kansas City, Mo. – Four teams that qualified for the 2007 NCAA College Cup – including Elite Eight squad University of Illinois-Chicago and defending Summit League champion Oakland University – highlight the 2008 UMKC men’s soccer schedule announced today by head coach Rick Benben, who enters his second decade at the helm. The Kangaroos will play seven home games during the 2008 slate at Bourke Field.
“It is always our goal to play a tough non-conference schedule to prepare us for competition in The Summit League and this year is no exception,” said Benben. “We open on the road with a pair of challenging matches, first against an Illinois-Chicago team that did very well in the NCAA tournament last year and against a strong Eastern Illinois squad as well. Within our first seven games we play five teams that were ranked among the top 100 in last year’s RPI. We have a hard-working group of seniors that will provide leadership for our team and a solid group of newcomers that should be able to come together as a very good team this year.”
The Blue-and-Gold open the year with three exhibition contests, traveling to Springfield, Mo., to take on Drury on August 16 before matches in Kansas City at William Jewell on Aug. 22 and against Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards on Aug. 24.
UMKC faces a stout test to open the regular season, embarking on a seven-game road trip with a Aug. 29 match against UIC. Under the direction of John Trask, the Flames finished 2007 with a 13-6-6 overall record, upsetting two seeded teams en route to an Elite Eight appearance. The Kangaroos visit Eastern Illinois on Aug. 31, in a rematch of the 2007 UMKC/Mr. Goodcents Brookside Invitational title match.
The Kangaroos continue the road swing with a pair of contests in Florida, taking on Florida Atlantic on Sept. 5 in Boca Raton and heading to Miami for a Sept. 7 duel against Florida International. The game will be a homecoming of sorts for several members of the Blue-and-Gold, as senior Miguel Rodrigues, juniors Bryan Perez and John David Hernandez along with sophomores John Bayron Sosa and Brian Quintana all hail from the Miami area. Levi Coleman is also familiar with the area, joining the Kangaroos following two seasons with the Golden Panthers.
The final three games of the extended road swing begin with a trek up I-29, as UMKC takes on Creighton on Sept. 13. The Blue-and-Gold look to avenge a hard-fought 1-0 spring loss to the 2007 College Cup qualifier and Missouri Valley Conference champion Bluejays. Wrapping up the road swing, the Kangaroos head to the west coast to take part in the Gonzaga/Nike Soccer Classic. Coach Benben’s squad will square off against the host Bulldogs on Sept. 19 before facing Oregon State on Sept. 21.
UMKC returns home on Sept. 27 to kick off a three-game home stand, hosting Summit League foe IPFW. The Kangaroos also play host to Missouri Valley Conference squad Drake on Sept. 30 in the first of three mid-week contests on the slate. The Blue-and-Gold close out the short home stand on Oct. 4 against IUPUI as part of UMKC’s fall homecoming celebration.
The first road match in Summit League action for UMKC comes on Oct. 11, as the squad travels to take on Western Illinois. The Kangaroos have fared well in Macomb in recent years, picking up shutout wins in each of their two most recent visits. The Leathernecks return the bulk of their offense as well as both goalkeepers from the squad that finished 2007 with a 7-10-3 overall record.
A four-game stretch of games in Kansas City kicks off with a Oct. 15 match against Rockhurst. The only non-Divison I opponent on the UMKC slate, Rockhurst finished 2007 with a 11-6-3 overall mark and a 7-4-2 record in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Kangaroos host Division I Independent Central Arkansas on Oct. 18 before returning to Summit League action against Oral Roberts on Oct. 25. The match against Oral Roberts will also serve as Senior Day for the Kangaroos.
The final non-league game of the season winds up the home portion of UMKC’s slate, as Missouri State visits Bourke Field on Oct. 28. The Bears will bring an experienced squad to Kansas City, although the Kangaroos dominated the spring meeting between the two schools this year in a 2-0 win.
For the final two games on the schedule, the Blue-and-Gold head to opposite ends of the country. UMKC takes on Centenary in Shreveport, La., on Nov. 1, looking to avenge its last trip to Mayo Field, as the 2006 game marks the only time that the Kangaroos have lost to the Gents in the eight meetings of the two schools. The regular season comes to an end on Nov. 8, as UMKC travels to Rochester, Mich., to duel the defending Summit League champion Golden Grizzlies.
The top four seeds in the regular season standings will qualify for the 2008 Summit League Championships, which will be held in Rochester, Mich.
The complete 2008 schedule follows. It may also be downloaded for import into Microsoft Outlook by visiting the official website of UMKC Athletics at www.umkckangaroos.com.
• UMKC •
2008 UMKC Men’s Soccer Schedule
Sat., Aug. 16 at Drury (Exhibition) Springfield, Mo. 6:00 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 22 at William Jewell (Exhibition) Liberty, Mo. 7:00 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 24 at Kansas City Wizards (Exhibition) Kansas City, Mo. TBA
Fri., Aug. 29 at Illinois-Chicago Chicago, Ill. 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 31 at Eastern Illinois Charleston, Ill. 1:00 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 5 at Florida Atlantic Boca Raton, Fla. 6:00 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 7 at Florida International Miami, Fla. 12:00 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 13 at Creighton Omaha, Neb. 7:00 p.m.
Gonzaga/Nike Soccer Classic
Fri., Sept. 19 at Gonzaga Spokane, Wash. 6:00 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 21 vs. Oregon St. Spokane, Wash. 1:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 27 ? IPFW Kansas City, Mo. 1:00 p.m.
Tue., Sept. 30 Drake Kansas City, Mo. 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 4 ? IUPUI Kansas City, Mo. 1:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 11 ? at Western Illinois Macomb, Ill. 1:00 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 15 vs. Rockhurst Kansas City, Mo. 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 18 Central Arkansas Kansas City, Mo. 1:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 25 ? Oral Roberts Kansas City, Mo. 1:00 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 28 Missouri State Kansas City, Mo. 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 1 ? at Centenary Shreveport, La. 1:00 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 8 ? at Oakland Rochester, Mich. 12:00 p.m.
The Summit League Championships
Fri. Nov. 14 Semi-Finals (#1 vs. #4, #2 vs. #3) TBA
Sun. Nov. 16 Championship TBA
? – Summit League Match
All times listed as Central time zone and subject to change