A challenging exhibition spring schedule awaits the Wisconsin mens soccer team with three matches on the East Coast and two home games at the McClimon Soccer Complex, according to UW head coach Jeff Rohrman.
The Badgers travel east this weekend for the teams annual spring break trip and will play three of the nations top collegiate soccer programs in a five-day span. Wisconsin plays Virginia Commonwealth this Saturday, March 15, followed by games against Maryland, March 17, and American, March 19.
Wisconsin returns to McClimon to play the Milwaukee Bavarian S.C. mens amateur team on April 12 at 3 p.m. and the Milwaukee Wave United, formerly the Rampage, professional mens team on April 26th at 3 p.m.
As we do every spring, we try to compete against the best teams, Rohrman said. This schedule will certainly challenge our players to see where we are as a team. This will be an excellent opportunity to play three great college programs as well as two of the top mens teams in this area and the country.
The Badgers face the Virginia Commonwealth Rams Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m. (CST) at VCUs Sports Backers Stadium as the College Highlight game of the Jefferson Cup, a premier youth soccer showcase event.
The Rams finished the 2002 season with a 15-5-1 overall record, and claimed both the Colonial Athletic Associations regular season and tournament championship this past year. The Rams, who were ranked nationally for most of the season, received the #8 national seed in the 2002 NCAA Mens Soccer tournament, the programs highest-ever ranking entering the tournament. VCU won a school-record eight games at home, including victories over defending national champion North Carolina and nationally-ranked Syracuse, under head coach Tim O'Sullivan, the CAA Coach of the Year.
Wisconsin next plays 2002 Final Four participants, the Maryland Terrapins, on Monday, March 17. An assistant coach at Maryland for seven years before accepting his position at Wisconsin last January, Rohrman and the Badgers will face Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski and the 2002 Atlantic Coast Conference Champion Terrapins at 6 p.m. (CST).
Cirovski just finished one of the best years in Maryland program history, leading the Terps to a school-record 20 wins and his second national semifinal game in five seasons. After celebrating his 10th season at Maryland last fall, Cirovski begins the 2003 season with the same team he took to the College Cup semifinals. His men's soccer team finished the season ranked third nationally with a 20-5 record after the team's eighth NCAA appearance and second conference crown under his direction. His career record is 157-87-15 (.635).
The Badgers complete their East Coast road trip against the American University Eagles on Wednesday, March 19 at 9 a.m. (CST). Under head coach Todd West, the Eagles built a 13-8-1 record and made its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament before falling to Maryland 1-0 in the second round.
Wisconsin will return home to face a more seasoned brand of competition when they play the Milwaukee Bavarian mens soccer amateur team on April 12. Back-to-back National Amateur Cup Champions, the Bavarian major team, including former Badger forward Dominic DaPra, successfully defended their national title in 2002 by defeating the Baltimore Colts 3-1.
The Badgers will wrap their demanding exhibition season April 26 against newly-formed outdoor A-League professional team the Milwaukee Wave United. Under head coach Art Kramer, the assistant coach of Milwaukees professional indoor team the Milwaukee Wave, the game against the Badgers will be one of the pro teams first contests before the A-League schedule starts in May.
In Rohrmans first season at the helm of the Badgers, Wisconsin completed the 2002 season tied for second in the Big Ten regular season standings with a 3-3 Conference record. The Badgers compiled a 9-10-0 overall record and finished their season with a 1-0 loss to eventual Big Ten tournament champion Penn State. Wisconsin sophomores Eric Hanson and Joe Anderson, along with senior Valentine Anozie, all earned 2002 Big Ten Player of the Week honors, while sophomore Nick Van Sicklen was selected as a First-team All-Big Ten and All-Region honoree.
The Badgers have added 11 new players, including 10 recruits, for the Fall 2003 season, including Aaron Hohlbein, a Middleton, Wis., senior who earned The Capital Times Boys Prep Soccer Player of the Year honor for 2002, and National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas High School All-Americans Aaron Witchger (Edina, Minn.) and Jake Settle (Cedar Rapids, Iowa).
Follow all of the Wisconsin mens soccer action this spring on UWBADGERS.com.