The USF men’s soccer team finally released their schedule for the upcoming 2017 season, and it is absolutely loaded.
First-year coach Bob Butehorn will not be taking it easy in his first season, playing five teams that finished the 2016 season in the top 25. The season opens with three exhibition games against Eckerd (August 15), Tampa (August 19 in the annual Rowdies Cup fixture), and Nova Southeastern (August 24). The season opener is at home against Lipscomb on August 28.
The Bulls then head on the road for three very stiff tests. First, USF travels to Bloomington, Indiana to face #18 Butler on Friday and #9 Indiana on Sunday. They next travel to Omaha, Nebraska to take on #15 Creighton. After a week on the road, the Bulls return home to face Stetson, Loyola Marymount, and North Florida.
USF opens conference play on Saturday, September 23 at home vs C. The game is at 7:00, and there’s no football game that day. You know what to do.
Immediately following the conference opener, the Bulls travel back out of conference for a clash at #6 Louisville. The Bulls have two more home non-conference games mixed into conference play: October 17 vs FIU and October 24 vs #20 Florida Gulf Coast, Butehorn’s former program.
In conference, the Bulls will be hosting UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, and SMU. This leaves only three conference road games, at Tulsa, Memphis, and Temple to close the regular season.
The large roster turnover appears to be no issue for Butehorn, who has been pressing the message of #playfast this offseason in practice and on social media. This season will be uncharted territory for a lot of USF fans (myself included) who have only ever seen USF men’s soccer teams under former gaffer George Kiefer. Expect a large freshman presence this season, and be ready for just about anything.
Returning stand-outs from the 2016 season include Jonathan Rosales (sophomore defender), Ricardo Gomez (senior midfielder), Gonzalo Rodriguez (junior midfielder), and Luis Garza (sophomore forward). Also keep an eye out for junior keeper Christian Knight, who filled in admirably for star man Spasoje Stefanovic several times last season.