The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team will begin preparations today for its 2011 campaign as the Huskies report for preseason training.
Following check-in and team meetings on Wednesday, the Huskies will take the field for their first training session at 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.
“We are unbelievably excited,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “We haven’t seen a lot of the guys for the last three months and as they trickle back to campus it is great to see everybody. There is a really good energy about the group and everyone is ready to go. We are excited about how well the older guys are doing bringing the freshmen along and how ready the freshmen seem to be for college soccer.”
NIU is coming off a 2010 season that saw the Huskies post a 9-6-2 record that included a number of impressive results against top-level competition.
The Huskies went 2-0 against Big Ten Conference foes, defeating Wisconsin and Northwestern. Northern Illinois finished the 2010 season with three-straight wins, including its fifth consecutive Lewang Cup victory over Milwaukee.
Defensively, the Huskies allowed just 12 goals last season, the fewest in the MAC. In goal, Jordan Godsey returns for Northern Illinois after posting a 0.71 goals against average and a MAC-best .820 save percentage in 15 appearances a season ago. Returning All-MAC player defender Francis Otira helps to anchor the NIU backline, Otira started all 16 games in which he appeared last season.
Northern Illinois will open its exhibition season at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13 when it hosts Olivet Nazarene at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex. The Huskies will open the regular season at 10-time national champion Saint Louis at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27.