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Aug. 14, 2006

The South Carolina men’s soccer team completed its fifth day of preseason training on Sunday. After four days of two-a-day training, the Gamecocks participated in Fan Appreciation Day at the Colonial Center Sunday afternoon before playing in their first team scrimmage on Sunday night at the USC soccer practice fields.

“You have three main objectives in preseason,” head coach Mark Berson said. “The first is to make sure the team is excellent physical condition, in playing shape. I think our guys took care of a lot of that before they even arrived here. It was clear they had worked to come back in shape. The second objective is to put in our system. Our returning players are obviously familiar with the way we do things and they have picked right up where they left off last year. The freshmen are learning and doing a good job fitting in. I think several of them are really going to be able to help us this season. The third objective is to figure out which players will be in the starting 11, who will play in which spots, who can give us good minutes. That’s something that will continue into the season.

Berson lauded his team’s willingness to work.

“I’m really pleased with the attitude. The team has been great, especially with through the wear and tear of two-a-day practices.”

South Carolina continues its preseason training leading up to the season opener against Clemson. The Tigers come to Columbia for a 7 p.m. tilt on Friday, Aug. 25, at Stone Stadium.

A Pregame Fun Fest with inflatables, games, face painting and prizes will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The first 500 Gamecocks fans to arrive at the gate will receive a free “Beat Clemson” t-shirt and a Gamecock memory band.

South Carolina soccer supports Children’s Chance’s “Keys to a Cure.” Fans are asked to donate old keys to be recycled by Metal Removal Technologies. Proceeds will benefit Children’s Chance, which is dedicated to helping South Carolina families who have children facing cancer. The first 1,000 fans to donate old keys on Aug. 25 will receive a free coupon from Marble Slab Creamery.