Men's Soccer Readies for Alumni Weekend
Oct. 19, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - As homecoming weekend gets into full swing, the University of Memphis men's soccer team will get into the spirit with a busy weekend schedule that kicks off on Friday evening.
The team's annual alumni match will kick off at the Park Avenue Campus practice facility at 5:00 p.m. and will be followed by the seventh annual Tommy Smith Banquet at 7:00 p.m. The weekend's festivities conclude as defender Jamie Gilbert, the team's lone senior, will be honored prior to the Tigers' match against No. 1 SMU as part of senior day on Sunday.
"It's always an exciting time of the year," head coach Richie Grant. "It's great to have our alumni return and be around our players and parents. It's always been a special night, and we love having it prior to one of the biggest games of the season."
The Tommy Smith Banquet is held yearly in honor of former Tiger soccer player Tommy Smith who passed away suddenly on March 18, 2000. Every year, the program presents the Tommy Smith Award to the Tiger soccer player who most embodies Smith's dedication to the game while maintaining high academic standards and displaying leadership ability on and off the field. Previous winners include Jared Britcher, Justin Dyer, Andy Metcalf, John Reilly, Chris Schmidt and Nick Glaser.
The festivities continue as No. 1 SMU arrives on Saturday at Mike Rose Soccer Complex for a crucial conference match. Senior defender Jamie Gilbert will be honored before kickoff as the only Tiger in the Class of 2006.
With the Tigers only 280 fans shy of setting a new single-season attendance record at Mike Rose Soccer Complex, coach Grant is hoping the senior day crowd will give his squad an even stronger home field advantage.
"It's great that the program is moving in the direction of breaking attendance records. It shows the interest in the sport is increasing," Grant said. "We're going to need those fans more than ever this Saturday. That's why C-USA is so tough on the road. You can't ignore the impact of having a lot of fans at your home field. It really does count for something."
Kickoff between the Tigers and Mustangs is set for 2 p.m. at Mike Rose Soccer Complex. As always, U of M students with a valid student ID and children wearing a soccer jersey will receive free admission.