Men’s soccer set for challenging spring season

The Akron mens' soccer team being introduced before a match at FirstEnergy Stadium.

GoZips

The Akron mens' soccer team being introduced before a match at FirstEnergy Stadium.

By Feben Yeshak, Sports Writer

Akron’s men’s soccer team has set their 2015 spring schedule and preparing for another season the at FirstEnergy Stadium at UA.

The Zips will open against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer Leagues and Wright State on Sunday, March 15 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Wright State is coming from the Horizon League who went 12-7-2 and ended the season with a loss in the conference championship to Oakland.

The next challenge will be another double header at FirstEnergy Stadium where UA will take on Columbus Crew from the Major League Soccer and Walsh University on Friday, March 20 . The Crew finished last year in third place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 14-10-10. Akron fans will also get a chance to see former players like Wil Trapp, Ben Speas, and Chad Barson. Trapp played with Akron for two seasons and was honored with MAC Newcomer of the Year.

Speas also spent two years at Akron and was a part of the 2010 National Championship team before he transferred. Barson spent four seasons at Akron and got the winning goal during the National Championship. Barson was also honored with several awards and honors during his time at UA. After playing Columbus, the Zips host Walsh University Cavaliers. The Cavaliers ended their 2014 season 7-9 overall and 5-9 in their conference in the season they averaged 1.4 goals and 10.5 shots per game.

In April, there will be a rematch of the 2010 National Championship when UA travels to Louisville, KY on Apr. 4 to play against the Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals were 11-8-3 overall and 4-3-1 in the Big East Conference during the 2014 season. They also went to the third round of the College Cup before losing UMBC 1-0.

The final three days of the season are all at FirstEnergy and will be every Saturday for the rest of the month of April (11, 18, and 25.) These games will be against Butler, Notre Dame College, Sigma FC, which is a soccer club from Canada and then a final game against VCU. Their coach David Giffard was a former Akron assistant. VCU went 7-8-5 overall and 4-1-4 in the Atlantic 10.

Akron will have nine returning starters including Adam Najem, Jake Fenlason and Andrew Souders. Akron ended their 2014 season with a loss against Ohio State University in a thrilling and heart racing 15 round PK overtime loss in the College Cup. Zips were 13-6-2 overall and 4-1 in the MAC.