Utah State soccer begins practice Wednesday

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, July 31 2012 3:33 p.m. MDT

Utah State soccer will begin practice for the 2012 season on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The 2012 team will begin team training at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field from 4-6 p.m.

The Aggies return 12 letterwinners and seven starters from last year’s team that finished 15-5-2 and won their first Western Athletic Conference Tournament title. Utah State also captured their fourth WAC regular-season title. This is USU’s final season in the WAC. The Aggies will move to the Mountain West Conference for the 2013 season.

In this season’s WAC preseason poll, Utah State was picked to finish second behind WAC newcomer Denver with 59 points, including three first-place votes. Utah State was picked sixth in the 2005 preseason poll, the Aggies’ first year in the WAC, fourth in 2006 and third in the 2007 and 2008 preseason prognostications. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 polls, USU was picked first.

Utah State will open the 2012 campaign against in-state rival Utah on Friday, Aug. 17 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Aggies open the home portion of the schedule against UTEP on Sunday, Aug. 19. Following a pair of matches in Omaha, Neb., USU returns to the Beehive State for a home match against Northern Colorado on Fri., Aug. 31.

The Aggies begins their final season in the WAC with a conference game on Friday, Sept. 28 against New Mexico State. This season, Denver, UTSA and Texas State begin their first seasons in the WAC.

The Aggies are on a quest to capture their fourth WAC regular season title in the last five years. Three all-WAC honorees return to the starting 11 for the Aggies. WAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Natalie Norris returns for her senior season in the Aggie backfield. Norris is a two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Year and two-time first-team honoree. Junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton earned first-team all-WAC honors last season, while sophomore defender Taryn Rose was the league’s Freshman of the Year and earned second-team all-WAC honors.

Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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