June 11, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Nine home games and matches against eight teams who appeared in last year's NCAA Tournament highlight a challenging schedule for the 2013 Alabama soccer team, sixth-year head coach Todd Bramble announced on Tuesday.
The 18-game schedule features non-conference matches against the likes of Wake Forest, Colorado, Memphis and Denver, in addition to an 11-match Southeastern Conference slate - the first time since 2004 that the league schedule does not include games with all the SEC teams.
"We love playing a tough schedule year-in and year-out," Bramble said. "It's what the players, coaches and fans all want. I also love the variety that comes with the non-conference portion of the schedule. We will be playing some of the top teams from some great conferences. We purposely sought out tough games on the road and are excited about the challenge we will face at those venues."
After an exhibition contest at Clemson on Aug. 17, the Crimson Tide will open the 2013 regular season against ACC opponent Wake Forest on Aug. 25 in Winston Salem, N.C. The Demon Deacons, which earned their 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance last season, will host the Tide in what will be the first-ever game played between the two schools on the pitch.
Following that contest, Alabama will play its first home games of the campaign when it welcomes Georgia State (Aug. 30) and Mercer (Sept. 1) to the Alabama Soccer Complex.
UA will then play three consecutive road contests beginning by traveling to Denver, Colo., to compete at the Denver Invitational. In that event, the Tide will open against Colorado (Sept. 6) and will take on tournament host Denver (Sept. 8) in the finale.
Alabama will remain on the road for a date at Memphis on Sept. 13 before closing out the non-conference portion of the schedule with a home game against UAB on Sept. 15.
The Crimson Tide's SEC schedule opens Sept. 20 when it travels to face defending SEC regular season champions Florida in Gainesville, Fla., on Sept. 20. Alabama defeated then-No. 11 Florida last season, which marked the first time the Tide defeated the Gators in program history.
"Our team will be looking forward to starting SEC play in Gainesville this season," Bramble said. "It is usually one of their biggest crowds of the year and I expect the atmosphere to be electric. It will be two good teams playing an attractive style of soccer and we are certainly aware we will need to be at our best to get any points out of that game."
The Tide opens the home portion of its conference slate when it welcomes Vanderbilt (Sept. 27) and Tennessee (Sept. 29) to Tuscaloosa. Other home league games include LSU (Oct. 6), Texas A&M (Oct. 18), Kentucky (Oct. 20) and Auburn (Oct. 31).
In addition to playing the Gators on the road, UA will have away games at Georgia (Oct. 4), South Carolina (Oct. 11), Mississippi State (Oct. 25) and Mississippi (Oct. 27).
"I often see my coaching peers from around the league out recruiting and there is a consensus in the group that this could be the best year ever for the SEC," Bramble said. "The talent and parity from top to bottom will make this an exciting year and I expect games to be decided by the smallest of margins."
The 2013 SEC Tournament, set for Nov. 4-10, makes its seventh consecutive appearance in Orange Beach, Ala.
The NCAA Championships' 64-team field will be announced on Nov. 11.