Practice begins Wednesday for 2009 men’s soccer squad

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Members of the Ohio State men’s soccer team reported to campus Tuesday for the official start of preseason camp. They will spend the day meeting with various members of the team’s support staff, as the players complete the necessary medical, compliance, equipment and academic tasks to open training at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Following a day of administrative responsibilities, the Buckeyes will check into the dorms around 6 p.m. before taking in the Columbus Crew vs. Puerto Rico Islanders match at 8 p.m. in Crew Stadium.

Six starters return from the 2008 OSU squad that finished 9-9-3 overall with a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. With nine additional returning letterwinners and 11 newcomers, the 2009 edition of the Buckeyes has a fresh face

Admission for all 11 home men’s soccer matches will be free of charge during the upcoming season. The decision to eliminate admission prices for selected Ohio State sporting events came with careful consideration of the desire to grow attendance figures and the delicate economic climate, among other factors. With greater accessibility to games, it is the athletic department’s hope to:

  • Generate larger crowds for our student-athletes to compete in front of as well as a dynamic home game atmosphere for those in attendance
  • Recruit new sports fans to events on campus;
  • Enable fans to have a more enjoyable experience at the events; and
  • Remove cost barrier decisions for the fans.

The Ohio State men’s soccer team will host 11 home games this fall, highlighted by the annual Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic Sept. 4 and 6, and three Big Ten matches. The Buckeyes are scheduled to face six teams that finished the 2008 season in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25 and seven that made trips to the NCAA Tournament – including tourney opponents Oakland and Akron.

The Buckeyes were selected to finish fourth in the Big Ten in a poll of conference coaches last week. Indiana was selected as the favorite for the seventh-consecutive season, while Northwestern came in second and defending champion Michigan State rounded out the top three. Following the Buckeyes, Penn State and Wisconsin hold a tie for fifth and Michigan comes in at No. 7.

Head coach John Bluem enters his 13th season at the helm of the Buckeyes with an OSU record of 127-90-31 and a 17-year career mark of 213-117-43, a figure that puts him among the Top 35 active NCAA coaches in total wins and win percentage. Under his guidance, the Buckeyes entered the most successful era of program history, complete with three Big Ten titles, 10 Major League Soccer draft picks and all six of Ohio State’s appearances in the NCAA tournament, including the 2007 College Cup.

Taly Goode joined the coaching staff in June as an assistant coach, working primarily with goalkeepers, after three years in a similar position at Ohio Dominican. Prior ODU, Goode spent three seasons with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer after being originally drafted out of Marshall University by the Atlanta Silverbacks of the A-League. He lettered four years at Marshall during the 1996-2000 seasons.

Three former Buckeye players are currently on active Major League Soccer rosters. Eric Brunner, a senior on the national runner-up squad in 2007, joined the Columbus Crew in the offseason and has taken over a starting role as a defender. Ray Burse, who ended his OSU career in 2003, is the starting goalkeeper for FC Dallas, while Roger Espinoza plays an active role on the Kansas City Wizard’s midfield unit after one year with the Buckeyes in 2007.