RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU Men's Soccer team has already earned the respect of its Atlantic 10 Conference peers. On Thursday, the Rams were selected to finish third out of 16 teams in the league's annual preseason coaches poll.
VCU was picked to finish behind only 2011 NCAA College Cup runner-up Charlotte and two-time defending A-10 champion Xavier.
"Heading into a new league, it's hard to know exactly what to expect but we're ready to get started," Head Coach Dave Giffard said. "I'll take it as a compliment from the rest of the coaches in the A-10 that we were picked to finish third, but really preseason polls don't mean much. We'll know a lot more come November 11th."
The Black & Gold return a talented core of players from last season's squad, which received a top 25 ranking for the first time since 2005. Third-year Head Coach Dave Giffard, who continues to return VCU Soccer to the national stage, welcomes back a pair of 2011 All-Colonial Athletic Association performers in sophomore Juan Monge Solano and junior Jason Johnson. Johnson led the Rams with 11 goals, 23 points and three game-winning scores, while Monge Solano added five goals and 11 points on his way to freshman All-American and first team All-CAA accolades.
Saint Louis was picked to finish fourth followed by Fordham (fifth) and George Washington (sixth). Butler and La Salle are tied for seventh, while Duquesne is ninth, Dayton is 10th and Temple 11th. Rhode Island was selected 12th followed by Massachusetts (13th), Richmond (14th), St. Bonaventure (15th), and St. Joseph's (16th).
The eight-team A-10 Men's Soccer Championship will take place at Charlotte's Transamerica Field Nov. 8-11. It will mark the second time in three years the 49ers have hosted the event.
VCU travels to UAB for an exhibition match on Aug. 18 before opening the regular season on Aug. 24 against Bucknell at Sports Backers Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
2012 A-10 Men's Soccer Predicted Order of Finish (2011 record)
1. Charlotte (16-5-4/6-1-2 A-10)
2. Xavier (12-5-4/4-3-2 A-10)
3. VCU (11-9/6-5 CAA)
4. Saint Louis (6-10-1/4-5 A-10)
5. Fordham (11-7-1/7-2 A-10)
6. George Washington (10-6-3/7-2 A-10)
7. Butler (7-8-3/2-4-2 Horizon)
La Salle (7-9-4/4-2-3 A-10)
9. Duquesne (7-9-2/4-4-1 A-10)
10. Dayton (5-13-1/4-4-1 A-10)
11. Temple (9-10/5-4 A-10)
12. Rhode Island (7-10-1/4-4-1 A-10)
13. Massachusetts (4-13-2/2-5-2 A-10)
14. Richmond (5-12-1/4-5 A-10)
15. St. Bonaventure (4-12-3/0-7-2 A-10)
16. Saint Joseph's (2-15-0/1-8 A-10)