The Clemson men’s soccer team opened preseason training on Tuesday, with coach Mike Noonan welcoming back nine starters from a team that went 3-2-3 in the ACC and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament a year ago.
Last season's league mark was Clemson's best since it won the ACC in 2001. It was also the first time that the Tigers have reached the semifinal round in the ACC Tournament since 2005.
“We're excited to be starting another year at Clemson,” said Noonan, who will be beginning his fourth season as the Tigers' head coach. "It’s a great time of year. Our players reported back healthy and in good shape. They are also happy to get things started."
Noonan noted that this will be his most experienced Clemson team yet.
“We have a lot of experienced players returning, and some are two and three year starters," he said. " This is the first time we have had this much experience returning. We're looking for this leadership and experience to translate on the field."
Junior midfielder Ara Amirkhanian from nearby Daniel High is the Tigers’ leading returning scorer, as he had five goals and two assists last season. Junior midfielder/forward Manolo Sanchez had two goals and six assists for 10 points in 2012.
Clemson will play Wofford in an exhibition game at the CESA Complex in Greenville, S.C. on August 21. The Tigers will also play an exhibition match at Coastal Carolina on Sunday, August 25.
Clemson will open the 2013 season on Friday, August 30, as the Tigers play host to Mercer at Riggs Field.
The Tigers will then play host to South Carolina on Labor Day night, Sept. 2.
Clemson also has home matches with ACC foes Virginia, Maryland, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Duke.
Riggs Field and I.M. Ibrahim Stadium are undergoing significant renovations this summer. The venue, which will be 99 years old this year, is one of the five oldest continuously-used athletic fields in the nation.