SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University men's soccer team announced its 2012 season schedule today. The 11-time West Coast Conference champion Broncos and 19-time NCAA tournament qualifiers are set to battle some of the nation's best teams this fall. Duke and Creighton are on the non-conference schedule, along with Cal and Sanford in the annual Bay Area Classic, all before WCC play begins in late September.
An interesting twist to Santa Clara's early-season trip to Durham, N.C. to play both Duke (Aug. 31) and N.C. State (Sept. 2) will be a four-day stop on Florida's central coast to train at the historic Vero Beach Sports Village.
Prior to the East Coast swing the Broncos open the season on their home field of Buck Shaw Stadium against Cal (Aug. 24). Awaiting the team upon their return to the Mission campus will be 2011 College Cup Final Four qualifiers Creighton (Sept. 7).
"When we put a schedule together it is important to make it demanding of great soccer from our team," said Cameron Rast, who has guided SCU to four WCC titles in his 10 years as head coach. "We have to push our group for them to reach their potential. To do this we look to play the top teams in the country. This year I think we have done just that."
Scheduling top 20 teams is nothing new for Rast and the Broncos. SCU went 6-1-3 to begin the 2011 season, beating Stanford and 14th-ranked Cal, while drawing with No. 6 UCLA. The Broncos owned the WCC's best overall record (11-5-4) and upped their all-time mark at home to 59-16-20 since Rast was elevated to head coach in 2002.
The 2012 campaign begins with a home exhibition against Cal Poly (Aug. 18). The first of 10 official home games will be against Cal the night of Fri., Aug. 24 as part of the Bay Area Classic. WCC play begins at Buck Shaw as well, when San Diego (Sept. 28) visits the Mission campus on a Friday night in late September.
"In the end we want to be playing our best soccer by the end of the season and be ready to make a run in the playoffs," says Rast about the challenging non-conference slate. "Before heading to Duke, we will be spending four days down in Florida at a top flight training center, the Vero Beach Sports Village. It is a specialized training ground, which will allow us to focus on early-season development and performance. It will be a great way to prepare for the tough matchups with Duke and N.C. State."
Santa Clara will open training camp on Wed., Aug. 8, with the student-athletes reporting on Tue., Aug. 7.
Season tickets for all 10 home games start at $50 for adults and $35 for youth and seniors. The SCU athletic department is also offering a season ticket 'Family Plan,' which includes five tickets to every home game for just $100.
Fans can purchase tickets online (www.SantaClaraBroncos.com/buytickets), over the phone at 408-554-4660 or by visiting the SCU Ticket Office, located at The Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara campus, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.