COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s soccer team opened practice at 8 a.m. Wednesday in preparation for the 2009 season. All 27 team members – 16 returning players and 11 newcomers – were present and accounted for at the first of two sessions of the day. Under heavy rain, the Buckeyes spent over an hour doing drills and possession work before taking part in a 40-minute intra-squad scrimmage.

“I am very happy with the way all the players came out strong today in their first practice,” head coach John Bluem, who enters his 13th season this year, said after the first session Wednesday. “Our returning players all came back fit and ready to play and our new players are eager and ready to go. It is obviously hard to tell much after two hours of practice, but it is good to see the way everyone is starting to come together.”

The Buckeyes will take part in two-a-day practices for the next two weeks with an exception of their exhibition game days Aug. 23 and 28. Ohio State faces Cincinnati at 7 p.m. Sunday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium before taking on Louisville at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Admission to the match against the Bearcats in Columbus is free and open to the public.

News from camp Wednesday …

A trio of players has been named captains for the upcoming season. Senior defender Doug Verhoff, senior forward Andrew Magill and junior midfielder Matt Gold will each wear the captain’s armband throughout 2009. Gold is the first junior captain for Ohio State in at least the last decade. Stay tuned to for more information about the captains later this week.