By Brad Blume, Sports Information Director
RAPID CITY - The South Dakota School of Mines men's soccer program has released it 2013 schedule with the Hardrockers hosting nine home events along with two exhibition bouts. The SD Mines men's soccer team begins its season in late August and it runs through the early part of November.
This past January, SD Mines was accepted as an affiliate member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) in men's soccer which guaranteed them seven home league games.
"I am looking forward to be playing 10 games at home," said Hardrocker soccer head coach Joe Burger. "We want to play in front of our home fans while representing our institution and growing the game of soccer in Rapid City. We want to give the community a home-town soccer team to be proud of."
Member school of the GNAC include: Seattle Pacific University (Wash.), Saint Martin's (Wash.), Western Washington University, Montana State-Billings, Simon Fraser (British Columbia, Canada), Northwest Nazarene (Ida.) and the University of Mary (N.D.). The 'Rockers will also be traveling to each of the GNAC's institutions which will fill out the bulk of the 2013 schedule.
"We are excited to showcase our team and outstanding soccer community with a great league which has a tremendous soccer tradition," Burger said. "We have 16 Div. II games on our schedule, and our program is looking forward to the challenge of competing as a full member of NCAA Div. II.
"The opportunity to play a GNAC schedule will enhance our student-athlete experience tenfold by allowing our young program the ability to create natural rivalries and allow our players to experience quality competition," Burger added. "Traveling to Seattle (Wash.), Vancouver (Canada), and Nampa (Ida.) will give our student-athletes a chance to experience areas of the country that they might not have had the chance to experience if not for the 'Rockers playing in such a great league."
The Hardrockers also have three non-conference games on the schedule.
SD Mines kicks off the season Sept. 6, hosting Johnson and Wales University (Colo.) and then off to Colorado to face Adams State (Sept. 13) and Colorado Mesa (Sept. 15) before diving into the GNAC schedule.
SD Mines will welcome Seattle Pacific Sept 19 to open the conference schedule followed by a matchup with Saint Martin's Sept 21 for the M-Week festivities.
The Hardrockers first Pacific Northwest road trip takes them to Canada to take on Simon Fraser (Sept. 26) and then to Western Washington (Sept. 28). SD Mines will trek to Montana State-Billings Oct. 3 and then on to Northwest Nazarene Oct. 5.
The Hardrockers finish out the season against GNAC opponents, traveling to North Dakota Oct. 12 for a newfound rivalry with the University of Mary and then home games against Western Washington (Oct. 17) and Simon Fraser (Oct. 19) and then a pair of away contest at Saint Martin's (Oct. 24) and Seattle Pacific (Oct. 26).
SD Mines closes out the year with three home games --- Montana State-Billings (Oct. 31), Northwest Nazarene (Nov. 2) and University of Mary (Nov. 9).
"The 2013 season is going to be very challenging for us," Burger said. "In the second year of the program, playing difficult matches game-in and game-out will help our long term development as a program."
All home games will be played at Sioux Park Sports Complex in the heart of Rapid City.