Florida Gators soccer opens season on the road

Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gator soccer’s silver anniversary season begins this weekend on the road versus a pair of in-state rivals.

Friday, Aug. 23 at Florida Atlantic
Time/Site: 7 p.m. at FAU Soccer Stadium.
Streaming Video: CUSA TV <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__conferenceusa.com_watch_default.aspx-3FLive-3D9152-26path-3Dfau&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=evaTST7v0R5a-qSu7VK_7GhCU6y2yNou455DzzpBzm8&s=zP5NhpfiKoCjWpcbU2iCp4V3LEFMRqR_HtE8jXHPhzY&e= >
Radio: WRUF with action called by Kyle Crooks
Tickets: $8 adults; $5 youth (age 3-12)<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__oss.ticketmaster.com_aps_fau_EN_buy_details_ws19gm01&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=evaTST7v0R5a-qSu7VK_7GhCU6y2yNou455DzzpBzm8&s=fnDmYklVImv-78hHFfbZUBOQLelj6uxMF5U3UGjf39c&e= >
Live Stats<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__fausports.com_sidearmstats_wsoc_summary&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=evaTST7v0R5a-qSu7VK_7GhCU6y2yNou455DzzpBzm8&s=GAz1mpZURMnqzwM3ybnfztz_z-7EfqWUi4hWDCQ2teo&e= >

Sunday, Aug. 25 at No. 18 South Florida
Time/Site: 6 p.m. at Corbett Soccer Stadium
Streaming Video:  USF Athletics YouTube<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.youtube.com_channel_UC2hUZIkGfPjlJy8-2DP0MJjYA-3Fview-5Fas-3Dsubscriber&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=evaTST7v0R5a-qSu7VK_7GhCU6y2yNou455DzzpBzm8&s=Cf5nslonCeM1EP66axRHtxKa8endyOc5NeDlLClJh5w&e= >
Radio: WRUF with action called by Kyle Crooks and Matthew Stubbington
Tickets: $10 Adults / $7 Youth (4-12) / $5 Groups of 10 or More<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__usfbullstix.com_olympic-2Dsports_index.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=evaTST7v0R5a-qSu7VK_7GhCU6y2yNou455DzzpBzm8&s=lnNwoceke4PpXNnABG_w3ZJ5smfl6kcT2jEnxAv0_1s&e= >
Live Stats<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__gousfbulls.com_sidearmstats_wsoc_summary&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=evaTST7v0R5a-qSu7VK_7GhCU6y2yNou455DzzpBzm8&s=qkffsdNgnICGQ7Q1fvd303J_uoxU9Mq3EnPoVvOo-pA&e= >

Florida is 18-4-2 in season openers, including a 5-3-1 record when opening on the road.

The 2019 Gators:
The 2019 Florida team, made up of 30 players, includes 12 (10 freshman, two transfers) making their first appearance for the Gators. Florida returns seven starters from the 2018 team that advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinal.

Two returning Gators earned All-SEC honors in 2017 – Parker Roberts (2017/first team), Deanne Rose (2017/first). Senior center back Julia Lester earned a spot on the 2018 SEC All-Tournament team.

Rose is among the 13 NCAA Division I players this fall who were on 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup rosters. Rose appeared in Canada’s 1-0 win over Cameroon to open group play. She is one of four with Gator ties to appear in 2019 World Cup play, joining UF alumnae Adriana Leon (Canada), Lauren Silver (Jamaica) and Havana Solaun (Jamaica). Another Gator played for her national team this summer. Sophomore Georgia Eaton-Collins joined England for the European Football Associations (UEFA) Women’s Under-19 Finals in Scotland, playing the entirety of each group play stage.

Challenging Schedule for the Gators:
Florida faces nine teams on the 2019 United Soccer Coaches preseason poll – with seven of those meetings on the road. Nine meetings versus preseason top-25 teams in 2019 is second only to Duke’s 10.

Four of Florida’s first five matches (beginning Sunday at No. 18 USF) are versus top-25 teams – equaling Santa Clara for the nation’s highest number of preseason opponents in that span. Five SEC programs appear among the preseason top 25, with four additional programs receiving votes.

Silver Anniversary for Florida Soccer
Florida’s first match in front of standing room only crowd at the James G. Pressly Stadium on Sept. 2, 1995 showed the Gator program was ready to step into the NCAA Division I scene. Here’s a look at some of the numbers the team has accumulated as it enters Season No. 25.

*   1998 NCAA Team Champions
*   21 NCAA Tournament Appearances
*   6 NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals
*   14 SEC Championships
*   12 SEC Tournament Championships
*   26 All-Americans
*   47 Gators With 94 All-SEC Honors
*   11 Gators Earning 15 SEC Player of Year Awards
*   12 Gators Named SEC Tournament MVP 14 Times
*   6 World Cup Medals (2 Gold / 2 Silver / 2 Bronze)
*   7 Olympic Medals (5 Gold / 2 Bronze)

Last Time Gators-Owls Met:
When the two teams last met at Dizney Stadium in the opening weekend of the 2018 season, the Gators took a 4-2 win over FAU. Then senior Melanie Monteagudo got the scoring started in the 15th minute and Madison Alexander finished the first half scoring (34:52). Cassidy Lindley scored just 56 seconds into the second half. FAU’s Tiril Hago narrowed UF’s lead to 3-1 in the 52nd minute. Sammie Betters closed the Gator scoring in the 63rd minute and FAU senior Ebba Blomqvist finished the match’s scoring in the 78th minute. Four of the goal scorers from the 2018 meeting (Alexander, Lindley, Betters – UF; Hago-FAU) are back for the 2019 season.

Last Time Gators-Bulls Met:
This is the first regular-season meeting between these two Sunshine State opponents since 2014. The two teams were to meet Sept. 10, 2017 in Gainesville but was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.

The two programs did meet in 2017 NCAA Second Round action at UF’s Donald R. Dizney Stadium. A late opening half goal stood for the length of the match as the Gators defeated the Bulls 1-0 in the first-ever postseason meeting between the two teams. Mayra Pelayo left-footed curling shot off Briana Solis’ free kick hit the upper part of the far post to fall in at 42:00.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.