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Aug. 15, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s soccer team wrapped up is third day of preseason training on Monday. After reporting to campus on Aug. 12, the Gamecocks practiced for the first time on Saturday morning and have trained twice each day since then. Head coach Mark Berson, who is beginning his 28th season as Carolina’s head coach, has put his team to work.

“There are three objectives you want to achieve in preseason,” Berson said. “You want to assess the fitness level of the team, determine who of your new players can step in and play and you want to observe the form of the returners.”

Berson is pleased with the team’s fitness level, particularly in battling the demanding conditions of heat and humidity that the afternoon sessions bring.

“Our fitness level is very good,” Berson said. “Our strength coach Billy Anderson remarked that he was very impressed by the overall fitness level, and that has borne out as they have pushed through six practices. I’m pleased with the attitude of our young players and the enthusiasm of our returning players.”

“The spirit of the group is very good. This team has an enthusiasm for learning. They support each other, and they’ve worked hard. I’m pleased with where we are on all fronts.”

The Gamecocks have responded well to the difficult news that two of their top three scorers from last season are out with injuries. Sebastian Lindholm, who led Carolina in scoring with 16 points as a freshman in 2004, will miss this season after tearing an ACL this summer. Senior Ryan Deter, who tied for second with 14 points (5 g, 4 a) last year, suffered an injury to his foot this summer and will be out for eight weeks.

The Gamecocks are hoping to set the tone for this season during preseason.

“Everyone worked over the summer and came back in shape,” senior Greg Reece said. “The new guys are getting adapted. We’re trying to get the season off to a good start during two-a-days.”

Carolina will play the first of two exhibition matches on Saturday, Aug. 20, when it travels to Greenville to take on Furman.

“I think everybody will be ready to play on Saturday,” senior Josh Alcala said. “After battling each other this week, we’ll be ready to go up against someone else. We’re excited to get started.”