RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU Men's Soccer team was picked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason Poll, the league announced Thursday. In addition, junior defender Ulrik Edvardsen (Bergen, Norway) was named to the preseason All-Conference Team.

The Rams received 159 points and eight first place votes. Saint Louis and Rhode Island both received first place votes and were tabbed second and third respectively. Dayton (121) and Fordham (109) rounded out the top five.

Last season, VCU finished with an impressive 10-6-2 overall record and a 6-1-1 A-10 mark en route to claiming the regular season title. The Rams return seven starters from last year's championship squad and add 10 talented newcomers to the 2019 roster. In addition to Edvardsen, the Rams return senior defender Ryo Shimazaki (Kawasaki, Japan) and senior goalkeeper Mario Sequeira (San Jose, Costa Rica) who earned second team All A-10 honors last season.

Edvardsen returns after starting in all 18 matches for VCU a year ago. He was solid on the back line for the Rams, helping the team to allow just 17 goals in their 18 matches. In addition, Edvardsen produced offensively, assisting the game-winner against La Salle. For his efforts, he was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Region team after the 2018 campaign. 

The Rams kick off their 2019 season Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. against ETSU at Sports Backers Stadium.

ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLL (First place votes in parenthesis) 

1-VCU 159 (8)

2-Saint Louis 146 (2)

3-Rhode Island 142 (3)

4-Dayton 121

5-Fordham 109

6-Davidson 102

7-George Mason 93

8-Saint Joseph's 78

9-Massachusetts 63

10-Duquesne 57

11-George Washington 55

12-St. Bonaventure 42

13-La Salle 16