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.