Utah State soccer begins the 2012 campaign with its only exhibition of the season on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Noon at the newly updated Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
The Aggies are coming off a historic season, ending the year with a 15-5-2 overall record and a 5-1-1 Western Athletic Conference mark. USU captured its first WAC Tournament title en route to the program’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies’ WAC Tournament title, as well as USU’s three WAC regular-season championships from the last three years, are commemorated with new banners at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
In addition to the banners, the field also has new permanent bleachers that have been added to the west side of Bell Field, pushing the capacity of the field near 1,000 fans. While the press box will remain on the west side, the team benches will now be on the east side of the field which is a change from previous seasons. Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field, which was originally built in 2002, has housed a USU soccer 62-25-14 record, including a 9-0-1 record in 2011.
Utah State returns 12 letterwinners and seven starters from last year’s team that finished 15-5-2 and captured their first WAC Tournament title, while reaching their first NCAA Tournament. USU brings back three seniors in defender Natalie Norris, defender Kami Montgomery and goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford.
Southern Utah is set to begin its first season as a member of the Big Sky Conference, after competing in the Summit League (formerly known as the Mid-Continent Conference) since its inception in 2001. The Thunderbirds return seven starters from a team that posted a record of 4-11-3 during the 2011 season in a schedule that saw SUU match up with Big Sky opponents Idaho State, Northern Arizona and the University of Montana.
This is the second year in a row the Aggies have tangled with the T-Birds in an exhibition, as last year, Kendra Pemberton netted USU’s lone goal in a 1-0 Aggie victory on Aug. 13 in Cedar City.
As always, admission to all Utah State soccer games are free. Fans will now be able to park in the gravel lot on the west side of the field and use the west side as the main entrance. Seating will be available on the west side, as well as the grass on the south side of the field. For the first time, the Aggies will be streaming all home soccer matches through www.UtahStateAggies.com. There is a Utah State All-Access Monthly Subscription for $9.95 and a Utah State All-Access Yearly Subscription for $79.95.
USU opens the 2012 campaign against in-state rival Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. The Aggies home opener will be on Sunday, Aug. 19 against UTEP at noon. Tickets for the match at Rio Tinto are $5 and available for the Rio Tinto Stadium Box Office (hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at 801-727-2700 or at RioTintoStadium.com). Kids 17 and under can enter free with a soccer jersey.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.