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Aug. 5, 2002

Columbia, S.C. – This year men’s soccer has the honor of kicking off the 2002-03 University of South Carolina athletic season on Friday, Aug. 23 at 7:00 p.m.

Following an exhibition match against Appalachian State on Friday, Aug. 23, USC hosts its first regular-season match of 2002 against Charleston Southern on Friday, Aug. 30. USC celebrates Labor Day by hosting Jacksonville for an afternoon showdown on Sept. 2.

After the match between the Gamecocks and the Dolphins, USC prepares for three consecutive tournaments. On Sept. 6-8, South Carolina heads to Durham, N. C. for the Duke-adidas Classic where it will face N.C. State and the Blue Devils of Duke.

The annual Gamecock Soccer Classic on Sept. 13 and 15 features Washington and New Hampshire. The meeting between the Huskies and Gamecocks highlights two of the top ranked teams in the nation. Last season the Huskies advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Closing out the tournament portion of the schedule is the Pro-rehab-Aces Classic in Evansville, Ind. where South Carolina takes on Louisville and Evansville. South Carolina travels to Davidson Sunday, Sept. 29, winding down the first half of the season. The second half of the season starts off on a high note when the Clemson Tigers visit Columbia. Instate rivalries will ignite at Stone Stadium on Oct. 6 and Oct. 27. On Friday, Oct. 6 USC hosts the Clemson Tigers, followed by Furman on Oct. 27. Last year’s matchup between the Gamecocks and Paladins was a nail-bitter all the way to the 118th minute when USC defeated the Paladins 3-2 in double overtime.

In November, South Carolina competes in a tournament in Charleston, S.C., where the Gamecocks face Coastal Carolina and Winthrop. On Nov. 8, USC gets the chance to meet the reigning national champions – the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Gamecocks conclude the regular season with a home match against Florida International on Nov. 17.

A talented team and challenging schedule is a great combination to help the Gamecocks advance to the NCAA Tournament for the 16th time in 24 years.

“We really don’t have a particular number of wins in mind heading into the 2002 season,” Coach Berson commented. ” Our goal is to win enough games in our region to finish as the top ranked team in the south region and secure an NCAA bid and successfully move through the tournament.”