August 14, 1998
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland men's soccer team departs Saturday, Aug. 15 for a 12-day trip to Europe. The Terrapins will compete against some of the top Dutch reserve/youth teams during their stay. Competition begins on Tuesday, Aug. 18 against F.C. Cambuur Leeuwarden.
"The youth of our team is one of the reasons why we are going to Europe for the preseason. We will be tested immediately by competition, which in some sense, will be better than some of the college competition," said Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski.
Maryland returns six starters and 14 letterwinners from last year's 16-6-1 team. The 16 wins marked a school record. Highlighting the group of returnees is senior midfielder Keith Beach, a two-time second team All-ACC selection. A member of the ACC All-Tournament team as a sophomore and as a junior, he enters his senior season ranked third all-time at Maryland with 18 career assists. The offensive standout was credited with four assists last season, and finished last season as the Terps' third-leading scorer with 16 points.
"Keith Beach is probably one of the most underrated players in collegiate soccer," says Cirovski.
Cirovski has truly built one of the most talented teams that he has had in his five years at Maryland. Despite the overwhelming predominance of youth on the Maryland roster, Cirovski does have the luxury of relying on a quartet of seniors. All-America candidates Beach and Pierre Venditti, Steve Armas and Randy Merkel. "This group has a collective hunger greater than any other senior class I have coached," continues Cirovski.
Juniors Jason Cropley and Jamie Eichmann round out a strong upperclass for the Terps. Cropley returns as the Terps' second-leading scorer after posting a team-high seven goals and five assists. Eichmann will take on an increased role this season after seeing playing time in 15 games last season.
Sophomore Jason Sardis headlines a large group of talented sophomores who saw a great deal of playing time last year as freshmen. Rob Birch, Christian Lewis, Kirk Miller and Mike Shebuski all have one year of experience behind them, ad all contributed largely to Maryland's success last season.
The class of 10 freshmen joining Cirovski's program this fall is, undoubtedly, the best in the nation. It includes four players, Dan Califf, Nick Downing, Beckett Hollenbach and Taylor Twellman, who were Parade All-Americans and who were ranked among the nation's top 25 recruits. The four re-unite with Cirovski after playing for him on the U.S. U-17 National Team where he served as an assistant coach.
"The group of players we have coming in aren't just freshmen, they are freshmen-plus. They are experienced players. They have played against the best national and international competition," said Cirovski.
Maryland opens its 1998 season on Sept. 1 when it travels to Seton Hall for a 3 p.m. contest. The Terps open their 1998 home campaign on Sunday, Sept. 6 against American at 2 p.m.
THE MARYLAND SOCCER EUROPEAN TOUR SCHEDULE
DATE TEAM August 18 vs. F.C. Cambuur Leeuwarden August 20 vs. F.C. Utrecht II August 22 vs. Go Ahead Eagles II August 24 vs. Feyenoord U-20 August 26 vs. Borusia Dortmund