Spartans and Wolverines open College Triple Header at Ultimate
All Michigan men's and women's college teams on display
Pontiac, MI (April 3, 2017)- The Michigan Bucks are proud to present the College Triple Header at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Michigan on Saturday, April 8. The three games feature all top men's and women's college soccer programs from the state of Michigan, featuring dozens of local youth soccer products. The Triple Header begins with the men from Michigan battling arch rival Michigan State (1 PM kickoff), followed by back to back games featuring the Oakland University Grizzlies against the Western Michigan Broncos. The men will play the second game of the day (2:55 PM kick off) and will be followed by the final match of the afternoon with the Oakland women seeking revenge against the Western Michigan women (4:50 PM kick off).
Tickets for all three matches are just $12 at the door (all ages, 5 and under free) but can be purchased at the special pre sale price of only $8 by visiting our web site at www.buckssoccer.com and clicking on the Triple Header registration link. Pre sale tickets will only be available on line until the day before the event and large crowds are expected so fans should get their tickets early.
The Michigan- Michigan State rivalry needs no introduction in any sport and the history of men's soccer between the two schools is as intense as any other varsity competition. The Spartans got the best of the Wolverines last fall with a 1-0 win at home in Big Ten regular season play. Both teams have prolific attacking players that received post season accolades from last fall. Michigan's dynamic forward Francis Atuahene was named 1st team All Big Ten, while strike partner Jack Hallahan was named to the Big Ten All Freshman squad. The Spartans received honors at every position beginning with Big Ten Freshman of the Year Giuseppe Barone and 1st teamer Ryan Sierakowski as the team's top strikers. The Spartans also had 2nd team All Big Ten members Ken Krolicki at midfield, Jimmy Fiscus on defense and Jimmy Hague in goal. In addition, Michael Pimlott and Michael Wetungu were both voted to the All Freshman team representing MSU.
In the second game of the day, the young Oakland Grizzlies men led by former Bucks goal keeper Coach Eric Pogue, tackle one of the MAC's top teams in the Western Michigan Broncos. Leading the Grizzlies are two outstanding young prospects in Nyal Higgins and Nebojsa Popovic, who were selected to the Horizon League All Freshman team. Western Michigan has the more veteran squad and will be more familiar to Bucks fans. Last season, goal keeper Drew Shepherd (2nd Team All MAC) back stopped the Bucks to their record third PDL championship and defender Zach Bock (1st team All MAC) helped provide the stingiest defense in the 67 team North American league before the tandem of players had outstanding seasons for the Broncos last fall. Forward Brandon Bye was also a 1st team All MAC selection and will be a certain handful for the Grizzlies defense.
In the night cap, the women of Oakland University and Western Michigan will match up for the second time in six months when the Grizzlies try to avenge a 1-0 loss on their home turf from last fall. Western is led by midfielder Alyssa Burke, who was named 1st team All MAC in October. The Grizzlies come into Ultimate Soccer Arenas led by Sydnye Gagner, the leading returning goal scorer for the Grizzlies who was also named to the All Horizon 2nd team. First year defender Sierra Grodsinsky had a phenomenal year in the back for Oakland and was named to the Horizon League All Freshman team for her efforts. The Grizzlies are led by first year head coach Juan Pablo Favero, who is assisted by former Bucks PDL Defender of the Year, Stew Givens.
The Michigan Bucks begin the defense of their current PDL championship on May 10 in US Open Cup action (venue and opponent to be determined April 12). They then open their 22nd PDL regular season at Ultimate Soccer Arenas against K-W United on Saturday, May 13 (7:30 PM kick off). This year's Bucks team is shaping up to be better than last year's and will include players from all four men's teams participating in Saturday's College Triple Header.
To purchase your $8 pre sale tickets today, visit www.buckssoccer.com and click on the Triple Header ticket link. For those inquiring about discounted group tickets of 20 or more to Saturday's event, please contact Caroline Eagan at 248-766-6611. To follow the Bucks and learn about their upcoming 2017 roster, please follow us on Twitter @MichiganBucks, as well as on Facebook @MichiganBucksSoccer and Instagram @MichiganBucksPDL.
Pontiac, MI (March 22, 2017)- The Michigan Bucks are set to host their 9th annual College Challenge featuring several nationally ranked men's soccer teams from the Midwest this Saturday. #14 Notre Dame returns for their ninth appearance and will join #18 Butler, #25 Michigan State and local favorites Oakland University in four back to back games beginning at 12 noon at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac. Special one price tickets are available for all ages at the door for only $12 (5 and under free) but discounted pre sale tickets can be purchased on line until Friday at www.bucksoccer.com for ONLY $8.
The first match will feature Notre Dame taking on Michigan State (12:25 kickoff), followed by the Fighting Irish battling host Oakland University at 1:55 PM. The second set of matches feature former Michigan Bucks Hall of Famer Paul Snape's Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs first tackle the MSU Spartans at 3:30 PM and then close out the College Challenge by taking on Snape's alma mater Oakland Golden Grizzlies at 5:05 PM.
The four college teams feature several Major League Soccer (MLS) top prospects, as well as top players from all four teams that will be playing for the Bucks in the PDL this summer or for one of the other local teams in the NPSL. Many of the top college prospects and their coaches value the importance of their players staying sharp throughout the summer in leagues like the PDL. An incredible 70% of all MLS draftees have participated in the PDL since 2010.
Notre Dame, Butler and Michigan State all made appearances in last falls NCAA college tournament, while former Buck Eric Pogue's young Oakland University had a solid rebuilding year with a young squad full of underclassmen. All four coaches look forward to using the two College Challenge matches to continue to build their programs for the future.
For those looking for more quality college soccer action, the Bucks will also host the College Triple Header on Saturday, April 8 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas. The three full length college games feature all Michigan men's and women's college soccer action, beginning with the Michigan - Michigan State men followed by Oakland University against Western Michigan men's action. The women close out the three game event when the Oakland Golden Grizzlies host the Western Michigan Bronco women. One ticket gets you into all three games and are available for only $12 at the door. Specially priced discounted pre sale tickets are available for only $8 on line at www.buckssoccer.com and will also be available for sale at Saturday's College Challenge.
For discounted tickets for groups of 20 or more to either of these events, please contact Bucks Director of Operations, Caroline Eagan at 248-766-6611.
For more information on the Michigan Bucks, please visit the web site at www.buckssoccer.com or follow us on Twitter @MichiganBucks, as well as on Facebook @MichiganBucksSoccer and Instagram @MichiganBucksPDL.
RECORD 40 BUCKS SIGNED WITH CURRENT PRO TEAMS
As of March 1, over 40 former Bucks players were signed as part of professional teams all over the world. Domestically, the Bucks have over 35 players in North America's top league (MLS) and the two Division 2 leagues (USL and NASL). The Bucks six players selected by MLS teams this year bring the clubs overall total to 66 former Bucks that have been drafted or signed by MLS teams. The latest, Adam Najem helped the Bucks to their third PDL title last August before finishing his college career at the University of Akron. Najem was a home grown player for the New York Red Bulls, who was traded and signed by the Philadelphia Union, where he will join former Bucks standout Ken Tribbett. Last year's PDL champs have had six starters sign pro contracts with the latest signing by Indy 11 (NASL) of David Goldsmith. Goldie scored 20 goals for the Bucks over three seasons and led the team to two PDL championships (2014, 2016), before graduating from Butler as the Big East Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Last year's tandem of center backs Lalas Abubaker (Columbus Crew) and Francis de Vries (Vancouver White Caps) departure will open some more opportunities on the back line for the Bucks this summer. Attackers Ben Fitzpatrick (Pittsburgh Riverhounds) and Russell Cicerone (Portland Timbers 2) will both start the season in USL (D2) while they hope to play their way up to MLS opportunities before the end of summer.
Headlining the Bucks playing internationally are goal keeper Steve Clark, who left the Columbus Crew and signed with Danish SuperLiga side AC Horsens and Nermin Crnkic, who is in his native Bosnia playing for FK Sarajevo. Current Rochester Rhinos midfielder Brandon Beresford is also currently representing his home country of Guyana on national team duty.
PDL 2016 Championship MVP Russell Cicerone with PDL Director Todd Eason
Coach Muftari PDL Coach of the Year, Adam Najem Creative Player of the Year and Lalas Abubakar Defender of the Year