Men's Soccer Prepares for Season Opener
CHICAGO - The DePaul men's soccer team started practice this week in preparation for the upcoming season. Second-year head coach Craig Blazer and the Blue Demons face a tough task as their first nine matches are on the road. DePaul first game at Wish Field will be Oct. 5 against Memphis.
A quick glance at the 2002 slate reveals five teams that played in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, including Saint Louis, South Florida and UAB of Conference USA. In non-conference play, the Blue Demons will also face NCAA tourney participants Portland and UW-Milwaukee. After an exhibition match at Northwestern on Aug. 25, DePaul will face Portland in the NIKE Portland Invitational on Aug. 31.
Offensively, the Blue Demons return seven players that scored at least one goal. Senior Ed Kiefer leads all returners with nine points last season on three goals and three assists. Conference USA All-Freshman team member Luke Rojo tied Kiefer last season with a team-high three assists.
Junior goalkeeper Jeff Klitzke returns after totaling 45 saves in 10 matches last season. DePaul returns three members of the backfield in Jonathan Foley, Bob Kruse and Pat Vynke. All three have offensive potential as each score once last season and Kruse was credited with a pair of assists.
Following two matches at the NIKE Portland Invitational, the Blue Demons will play at the Panthern Invitational in Milwaukee. The month of September sees the Blue Demons on the road at Northern Illinois (15th), East Carolina (20th), Charlotte (22nd), Illinois-Chicago (25th) and Drake (29th). In October, the Blue Demons finally open the home portion of the schedule and play seven of the remaining 10 regular-season matches at Wish Field.