FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer team unveiled its 2017 schedule on Tuesday, presenting head coach Jesse Cormier and the Eagles with yet another challenging non-conference docket in preparation for what the Green and Blue hopes is an eighth-straight ASUN Conference Championship and return trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The 17-game schedule features 11 non-conference matchups and eight home contests all scheduled for 7 p.m. starts. Three opponents made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016, and three more lost in their respective conference tournament final. Nine opponents join FGCU in having finished in the top 100 of the RPI last year, and another was just outside the top 100.
“The 2017 schedule has many very good tests for us,” said Cormier, who enters his first season at the helm of the Eagles. “It’s all about getting better with each game and building into being good enough to make a run in November. Fans in Southwest Florida will have a great opportunity to see some quality matchups against our appealing style of play.”
Fans can easily download the complete schedule directly to their smartphone and corresponding calendar on any tablet or device by visiting the schedule online and then hitting subscribe on the top-right corner of the page. Fans viewing on a mobile device can easily subscribe by hitting Menu, Sports, All Schedules and selecting 2017 men’s soccer. Additionally, a PDF document is also attached for fans to easily save and print the schedule in a user-friendly format.
Season and single-game tickets will go on sale beginning Aug. 1. More information will be made available closer to that date, but for inquires at this time, fans are asked to call the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The 2017 schedule commences with a marquee matchup as FGCU travels to Colorado to take on defending College Cup participant Denver (Aug. 25). The Pioneers finished last year 6th in the RPI at 20-1-3, with their lone loss coming in the national semifinals. Denver – which has made four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances – is unbeaten in 35-straight regular-season games dating back to October of 2014, and FGCU will have the first opportunity of 2017 to try and break that streak.
The Eagles will remain in The Centennial State to conclude the opening weekend with a matchup against Air Force (Aug. 27). The Falcons went 14-7-1 last year, concluded the season at 79 in the RPI and just missed the NCAA Tournament after losing in the WAC Tournament Final.
From Colorado, the Eagles will return to Florida for a few days before flocking to the Northeast for a pair of games as part of Vermont’s Peter Baldwin Memorial Classic. FGCU will take on the host Catamounts (Sept. 1) before opposing Central Connecticut State (Sept. 3). Cormier was previously the head coach at Vermont for 13 years, and is a 1995 alumnus of the Burlington campus.
The matchup with Vermont will conclude a challenging opening three-game stretch for FGCU as the Catamounts went 14-7-1 in 2016, finished with an RPI of 29 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. Denver, Air Force and Vermont – all of which will be first-time opponents and true road games for the Green and Blue – combined to go 48-15-5 last year and win four NCAA Tournament contests. FGCU led the nation in points last year with 179, while Air Force was 4th (133), Denver was 5th (128) and Vermont was 8th (120).
After four games and two weekends away from SWFL to open the year, FGCU will kick off the home portion of its schedule with a tilt against VCU (Sept. 10), the first match of a four-game homestand. The Rams lost in penalty kicks in the Atlantic 10 Tournament Final last year and concluded the year at 102 in the RPI. The meeting will be the third all-time between the Eagles and Rams with the series split at 1-1. FGCU won at VCU in 2010, 2-1, before dropping a 2-1 decision in Fort Myers in 2012.
Loyola Marymount travels across the country to face FGCU on Sept. 15 after finishing last season 10-8-0 and 72 in the RPI. The two teams met last year for the first time in Los Angeles, with LMU claiming a 2-1 victory. However, that was the last setback for FGCU before it rattled off a nation-best 10-game winning streak.
The first in-state foe on the 2017 calendar for the Eagles comes in the form of UCF on Sept. 20. The Eagles lead the all-time series 2-1-2, including a 3-1 triumph in Orlando last season.
The homestand concludes with the ASUN opener against Jacksonville (Sept. 23) in a rematch of last year’s ASUN Tournament Final. The Dolphins will be the first of four-straight top-100 opponents from a season ago for the Green and Blue after they finished 94 in the RPI and lost in the title match to FGCU, 3-2.
The Eagles’ lone match in an eight-game stretch away from the FGCU Soccer Complex comes on Sept. 30 when they travel to North Florida. The Ospreys won the ASUN regular season crown, reached the ASUN semifinals a year ago and finished as the second-ranked team in the league in the RPI at 38 after posting a 9-4-2 mark.
FGCU returns home to begin a three-game homestand with a non-conference matchup versus Omaha on Oct. 3. The Mavericks – who fielded their first team in 2011 – have quickly ascended on the Division-I landscape with three-straight winning seasons and double-figure victories in two of those (nine in the other). Omaha finished at 53 in the RPI last year with a 10-5-4 record and lost in the Summit League Tournament Final to Denver, 2-1.
The Eagles return to conference action at home against Lipscomb on Oct. 7 in what will be their third-straight top-55 RPI foe as the Bisons wrapped up last year at 49 in the RPI and 10-6-2 overall. The contest will be a rematch of the ASUN semis from last season as FGCU claimed a 3-2 double-overtime triumph.
The last game of the homestand comes on Oct. 10 when FIU travels across Alligator Alley. The Eagles and Panthers have played every year with the exception of 2012 since FGCU’s program started in 2007. FGCU defeated FIU last season, 4-1.
A pair of ASUN road Saturday night matches are next on the docket for the Green and Blue as they travel to Stetson (Oct. 14) and USC Upstate (Oct. 21).
The road swing continues up I-75 for a battle with rival USF and former FGCU head coach Bob Butehorn on Oct. 24. The Eagles and Bulls (10-6-4 / 30 RPI) met in the NCAA Tournament First Round last year, with FGCU advancing to the second round for the first time in program history. The two sides have developed a strong rivalry in quick fashion. USF leads the all-time series, 4-3-3, but over the last six contests the Eagles have gotten the better of the Bulls, 2-1-3. However, the games have been highly competitive with FGCU holding just a 10-8 goals advantage in that stretch.
Following the tilt with USF, FGCU wraps up the home portion of its regular season by welcoming NJIT for the first time on Oct. 28. The Highlanders were new to the ASUN in 2016, and the Eagles went to Newark and claimed a 4-1 victory in their inaugural meeting. The match will serve as Senior Night for the program.
The regular season concludes a few days later on Oct. 31 in Boca Raton versus FAU. The all-time series between the cross-state foes is knotted at 4-4-1, but FGCU is 2-0-1 over the last three meetings following a 5-1 decision last year.
The ASUN Tournament begins on Thursday, Nov. 2, with a pair of quarterfinal matches held on the campuses of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds which receive byes. The winners of those contests will then face the top seeds in the semifinals on their campuses on Nov. 4. The highest remaining seed will host the ASUN Final on Saturday, Nov. 11.
FGCU led the country in nearly every offensive category a season ago, including goals with 62 – nine more than any other team. The Eagles return nearly every player from that team, including national goals (22) and points (49) leader Albert Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/UE Cornella/CE L’Hospitalet), a First Team All-American and one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy – college soccer’s equivalent of the Heisman.
The program reached record heights last season as the Eagles secured a program-record 14 wins as part of a 14-4-3 overall record, a program-best 10-game winning streak in the middle of the season and a national ranking for the final nine weeks of the year, including a program-high #11 showing in the NSCAA Poll on Oct. 18 and a #20 final ranking – then the highest in D-I history of any program at FGCU.
Since the program’s first two seasons in 2007 and 2008, FGCU has posted a winning record each of the past eight years, including double-figure victory totals in half of those campaigns. All-time, the Eagles are 95-63-24 (.588) in 10 seasons, including a dominant 52-18-7 (.721) record in ASUN contests. FGCU has produced six professional players and 63 ASUN All-Conference selections. In just six years of D-I postseason eligibility, FGCU has won four ASUN Tournament championships and made four NCAA Tournament appearances – in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016 – and won an unprecedented six-straight ASUN regular-season championships from 2010-15.
For up-to-the minute information and a behind-the-scenes look at the FGCU men’s soccer program, follow on Twitter @FGCU_MSoccer, Instagram @FGCU_MSoccer, Facebook /FGCUMSoccer and YouTube /FGCUAthletics.
HEAD COACH JESSE CORMIER
Jesse Cormier was hired in January 2017 to become just the 2nd head coach in program history. The head coach at Vermont for the previous 13 seasons, Cormier won 14 games with the Catamounts in 2016 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. During his time with Vermont, Cormier guided the program to the America East Tournament in 12 of 13 seasons, making five title game appearances, winning two tournament crowns, claiming a regular-season championship and advancing to three NCAA tournaments, including a pair of Second Round appearances. Cormier has a 114-89-47 (.550 winning percentage) overall record as a head coach.
SUPPORT THE CAUSE
FGCU Athletics sponsors events throughout the year to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.