RICHMOND, Va. – VCU's men's soccer program continues to earn the respect of its peers after turning in its best season in nearly a decade. The Rams, a national seed in last year's NCAA College Cup, will enter the 2013 campaign ranked 24th in the NSCAA Top 25 poll. Meanwhile, senior midfielder Romena Bowie and sophomore defender Dennis Castillo were each listed among TopDrawerSoccer.com's preseason list of the nation's 100-best players.
In all, VCU is set to face eight teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 this fall, including defending national champion and top-ranked Indiana, and No. 2 Maryland. Six of the Rams' 2013 opponents rank among the top 15, four of which will visit Sports Backers Stadium, including a trip from the Hoosiers on Oct. 18.
VCU, which spent the final four weeks (five overall) in the Top 25 last season, defeated three ranked opponents in 2012 by a combined 9-2. The Rams went on to win 12 matches, their most since 2007, en route to a national seed and first round bye in the NCAA Tournament.
The duo of Bowie and Castillo played an important role in VCU's success last season, and will be looked upon to continue that momentum this fall. On Tuesday, national publication Top Drawer Soccer graded the pair among the 100-best players in the nation.
Bowie has been a mainstay in the Rams' midfield over the past three seasons, assisting on four goals in 57 matches. The Saint Mary, Jamaica native, who was a first team All-Atlantic 10 selection in 2012, was named preseason All-America by College Soccer News in July.
Castillo, meanwhile, is coming off a breakout rookie campaign in which he scored six goals (3-for-3 on PKs) and helped VCU's defense post six shutouts en route to a pair of Freshman All-America citations from Soccer America and College Soccer 360.
VCU hosts former Colonial Athletic Association foe William & Mary in an exhibition match at Sports Backers Stadium on Aug. 21 with kickoff set for 5 p.m. The Rams open the regular season against UAB on Aug. 30 as part of the annual VCU Tournament.
Season tickets are now on sale for only $35. Click here for more information, or contact the VCU Ticket Office at (804) 828-RAMS.