FORT MYERS, Fla. – Coming off the best year in the program’s brief four-year history a season ago, the FGCU men’s soccer team received its first recognition of the 2011 campaign with the release of Goal.com’s preseason top 25 rankings on Tuesday. The Blue and Green will enter this upcoming season ranked No. 14 in the nation, according to the media outlet.
“This is definitely exciting news for FGCU and the Atlantic Sun Conference,” said fifth-year head coach Bob Butehorn. “Our program goal is to represent both regularly on the national stage.“
The Eagles finished the 2010 season with a 13-3-2 overall record, which included marquee victories over then-No. 13 USF and then-No. 5 Ohio State. The 2-1 road win in the season opener snapped the Bulls’ 30-game home unbeaten streak, and the record-setting crowd of 1,322 helped the Eagles post a 1-0 home shutout of the Buckeyes.
Outscoring the opposition 26-2 with seven shutouts on the way to a perfect 9-0 mark, FGCU became just the ninth team in A-Sun history to finish unbeaten in league play. Dating back to the end of the 2009 season, the Eagles have gone 14-2 over their last 16 A-Sun contests and are currently riding an 11-game A-Sun home unbeaten streak (10-0-1). Despite winning the A-Sun regular season, the Blue and Green were ineligible for postseason play due to the NCAA reclassification period. The Eagles will be eligible for postseason play beginning this season.
Finishing last season ranked No. 20, the Blue and Green landed a program-best seven student athletes on A-Sun All-Conference teams, highlighted by four first team selections and the Defensive Player of the Year in goalkeeper Adam Glick (Leola, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS). In addition to All-Conference first team nods, midfielder Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) and defenseman Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) also received NCSAA All-South Region first and second team honors, respectively. The Eagles are set to return 20 players, including nine starters, from last season.
The 2011 season kicks off with exhibition matches against Florida Southern on Aug. 17 and Tampa on Aug. 20, both at 7 p.m. The home opener is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start on Aug. 26 against in-state rival FAU.
“14. FGCU - The unheralded squad from Florida is finally eligible for post-season play after a couple years in the probationary phase, as a new team to Division I. Do not let the lack of history fool you, this team can knock the ball with the best of them. Next up: FAU, August 26” – Goal.com
Goal.com’s 2011 Preseason Top 25
3. North Carolina
7. Notre Dame
15. Wake Forest
17. South Carolina
21. Penn St.
24. West Virginia
25. NC State