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International Soccer Knight
August 31, 2017
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - After playing its first two matches on the road, the home opener for UCF is Friday at 7 p.m. against No. 16 Charlotte. Head coach Scott Calabrese guides the Knights in his first home contest at the UCF Soccer Complex.

International Student Knight features a tailgate at Burger U, starting at 5 p.m. Each burger purchased includes free fries and a drink. The first 100 fans through the gates will also receive a T-shirt.

Knights Watch members can also pick up their package that includes a T-shirt and UCF Soccer scarf at the entrance gate. Student membership is $15, while a fan membership is $50 and includes tickets to both men's and women's home contests. Click here to become a member.

THE MATCHUP
  • The Knights opened the season with a pair of tough defeats at Duke, 2-0, and vs. Elon, 1-0.
  • Freshmen goalkeeper Yannik Oettl and midfiedler Yoni Sorokin were tabbed to the John Rennie Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team.
  • Oettl finished the two matches with nine saves, while Sorokin fired one shot on target as a defensive midfielder.
  • Senior Matias Pyysalo tallied a team-best four shots, which included one on target.
  • A pair of shots on goal were also registered by junior Gorka Aperribay.
  • Charlotte enters the match with a 1-0 mark and is ranked No. 16 by the United Soccer Coaches and No. 24 by Top Drawer Soccer.
  • The 49ers topped Winthrop, 1-0, in their opener with a goal by Fernando Garcia in the 88th minute.
  • A team-best eight shots were taken by Ryan Spaulding, which included four on target.
  • Goalkeeper Elliot Panicco faced two shots and earned a shutout without making a save.
LAST TIME VS. THE 49ERS
  • Last year, the match between the Knights and 49ers was cancelled due to the remnants of Hurricane Hermine in the Charlotte, N.C., area.
  • The teams last played a home-and-home series in 2012-13 with Charlotte taking both matchups.
  • The Knights are still seeking their first victory against the 49ers in seven meetings dating back to 1993.
  • This will be the fifth meeting between the two squads in the City Beautiful.
CALLING ON CALABRESE
  • Head coach Scott Calabrese is in his first season guiding the Knights.
  • He spent the past three seasons at FIU, taking the program to its first NCAA Tournament in 10 years.
  • The Newton, Conn., native has compiled an 85-67-20 overall mark and started the program at East Tennessee State in 2008.
  • Calabrese has an experienced staff in Will Clayton, who played and coached at Wake Forest, and Paul Souders, who played for Calabrese at Clemson and coached at New Mexico.
THE FINNISH FINISHER
  • Senior Matias Pyysalo was tabbed as The American Offensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches.
  • The Helsinki, Finland, native tallied six of his 10 goals in conference play.
  • The 2016 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year paced the league with 14 points and delivered game-winning goals vs. SMU (10/1), UConn (10/22) and Cincinnati (11/5)
  • Pyysalo ranked among the nation's leaders in goals (15th/0.63) and points (16th/1.56) per game.
  • Entering his senior campaign, he has totaled 18 goals and 14 assists as a Knight.
TALENTED CLASS A NEW ERA
The UCF men's soccer team is in its first campaign under the guidance of head coach Scott Calabrese and will welcome seven teams to the UCF Soccer Complex. Click here or call (407) 823-1000 for ticket information.

BECOME A PART OF THE WATCH
Membership to Knights Watch, the official supporters group of UCF Soccer, begins at $15 for students and $50 for fans. Packages include tickets to all home contests for men's and women's soccer, a Knights Watch T-Shirt, a soccer scarf and a variety of free catered tailgates. To become a member, click here.

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