Aug. 15, 2010
DeKALB - Coming off its fifth 10-win season in six years, the Northern Illinois men's soccer team reported to campus Sunday for the first official team activities of 2010.
Under the guidance of second-year head coach Eric Luzzi, the Huskies settled into DeKalb with lunch and administrative meetings before taking a team photo and helping the newcomers move in.
"Today is great for the guys to gain a better understanding of the incredibly high expectations we have for them in all areas," Luzzi said. "It's also starts that process of coming together as a whole, and developing a team identity."
Northern Illinois hits the field for its first training session Monday morning, and will dive directly into competition for coveted playing time with the Cardinal and Black intrasquad scrimmage at 2:30 p.m.
"This is the most competitive team I have ever coached in terms of contesting for starting spots and playing time," Luzzi said. "We are deep at every position. That will fuel a competitive fire in training every day, which will make us a better team."
The Huskies return eight starters and 14 letterwinners from a team that went 10-8-1, including a tie at No. 1 North Carolina. A group of 10 newcomers, including three international players, will bolster the returning line-up.
The first of three exhibitions is set for Wednesday at Indianapolis. The Huskies will also face Valparaiso and IPFW in preseason matches before opening the regular season at No. 19 Portland, Friday, Sept. 3. NIU opens its home schedule Friday, Sept. 10 in the NIU adidas/Magnuson Inn Invitational. The Huskies take on Oregon State at 5 p.m. at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.