KANSAS CITY, Mo. (denverpioneers.com) – The University of Denver men's soccer program is ranked third in the United Soccer Coaches' Preseason Poll (formally known as the NSCAA Poll), the coaches' association announced on Thursday afternoon.
Denver reached as high as No. 4 in the coaches' poll during the regular season in 2016, and will enter this fall's slate with a 35-match regular season unbeaten streak dating back to Halloween Night, 2014. The Pioneers are the first program since Clemson in 1977-78 to go unbeaten in consecutive regular seasons.
Jamie Franks (35-2-6) enters his third season as the Pioneers' head coach and his sixth with the Denver men's soccer program overall in 2017, headlining a staff that won National Coaching Staff of the Year Honors from the coaches' association a year ago.
DU returns three of its top four and four of its top six point getters from 2016, including All-Summit League selections Andre Shinyashiki (9G-5A-23P), Blake Elder (7G-2A-16P) and Graham Smith (3G-3A-9P). Smith will join Alex Underwood (5G-5A-15P) in the captaincy of the 2017 Pioneers after both players' most prolific offensive seasons.
Following its preseason trip to Vail, the Pioneers will head down to Colorado Springs for their lone exhibition of the campaign when Denver takes on Air Force on August 19 at 3 p.m. MT. Denver will open the 2017 regular season campaign with a four game homestand, beginning with No. 23 Florida Gulf Coast on August 25 at 7:30 p.m. MT. Following the Pioneers' season opener, No. 16 Akron will come to Pioneer Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium on August 28 (7 p.m. MT).
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.