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Aug 14, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina men’s soccer team began training for the 2013 season on Wednesday with a morning fitness and practice session at the USC Indoor Fieldhouse on campus in Columbia. The squad went through its first session of fitness tests and scrimmaged to close out the two-hour practice.

“It’s a great morning,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said following the Wednesday morning practice. “The guys ran very well, and we were very pleased with the fitness results overall. For the team, that’s always an anxious time and they want to get that out of the way to get going. We have another fitness test this evening, but the group seems to have done their homework, so to speak, over the summer. We are ready to get down to business. The morning session was very good. We worked on a little bit of technical work and some defending. I think that overall, everyone did a great job. It was a good start.”

Seven newcomers join Berson as he begins his 36th season leading the Gamecocks.

“It feels really good to be back. Every year, the first day is crazy and everyone is always excited to get out here. The play is always really intense. It’s really good to get the first fitness test out of the way. Now we have a bit of a break, so we’ll go tonight and hopefully knock out this second fitness test to get them in our rearview mirror,” senior J.P. Rafferty said of the day’s training.

Junior midfielder Braeden Troyer is ready to get going as well. “It’s great to get back out here. We did some running today, but everybody is in good shape. It’s good to get things started

“I’m ready to get everybody playing and to see how we link up. I’m excited to get to know all the freshmen and get the new connections started,” Troyer who was recognized on the Preseason All-Conference USA Team added.

The team returns to the practice fields tonight for another session of training. The first exhibition contest of the season is just four days away when the Gamecocks host Mercer on Sun., Aug. 18 at 7 p.m., at Stone Stadium.

Season tickets for men’s soccer, which includes admission to all home games, are currently on sale in the Gamecock Ticket Office. Fans can purchase tickets online at, or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS. Cost for season tickets for men’s soccer is $25 for adults and $10 for youth (17 and under).