South Carolina men's soccer returns to Stone Stadium for the first time in 2020 when it plays host to Georgia Southern on Saturday with a 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff.
This will be the first University of South Carolina Athletics event since the March 11th softball game against Winthrop at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field 192 days ago as of Saturday.
"[Ray Tanner] and the administrative staff, John Kasik and the medical staff, have done an unbelievable job in terms of supporting us," head coach Mark Berson said. "You've got to remember these guys went home in March, and to be honest, I think they were pretty anxious to get back to campus and get back and start working out and playing soccer. So, we've had to have testing, we've had very strict protocols and a lot of human resources used to enable us to play. So, I really want to thank, again, Coach Tanner, and all of our administration, who have done an unbelievable job getting us ready to play this fall."
"My assistants, Tyler Kettering and Justin Cook, they've done a ton of work. Our trainers, Bryan Wells and Rylee Learn, have both done great. We're having to test our guys; we're having to have separate workouts for different players, and it's been a real challenge. But our guys are really excited to be playing. At last count, I think there were 21 teams out of 206 on the men's side that are playing this fall. So, we're really privileged to be one of those teams."
The Gamecocks will play five games this fall, four of which will be at Stone Stadium, with the possibility of a sixth game to be announced at a later date. All five opponents announced will follow the same medical protocols as Gamecock Athletics.
South Carolina will still look to compete for a Conference USA Championship in the spring with the announcement of the postponed fall season from the conference office.
The University of South Carolina Athletics Department recently announced ticketing information for the fall soccer season with a majority of tickets being allocated to student-athlete and coach family members and a limited number of students.
Following the previously announced seating capacity plans, the Department of Commerce approved a reduced capacity plan to allow approximately 675 fans at Eugene E. Stone Stadium III this fall.
The majority of tickets will be provided to family members on the player-pass list for both teams. A limited number of tickets will be available on a game-by-game basis. However, due to the anticipated demand for these tickets exceeding the remaining number of seats, only fans who had purchased season tickets for the upcoming season will have the ability to purchase single-game tickets.
Concessions stands at Stone Stadium will not be open for the 2020 season. Fans will be permitted to bring in one sealed bottle of water.
Game day parking is available for fans in the Heyward Street Garage located at 1300 Heyward Street. Parking is free of charge in this location and is available on all levels on a first-come, first-served basis. Handicap parking is also located at designated spaces within the Heyward Street Garage. An elevator is located within the garage for fans who will need to access the elevator to get to the ground level.
South Carolina returns to action coming off a 7-9-2 record in 2019. Carolina notably returned to the postseason with its advancement into the C-USA Tournament. The program welcomes 12 newcomers, 11 freshmen and one transfer, to Columbia for the 43rd season of Gamecock men's soccer. South Carolina notably returns Brian Banahan, its 2019 leader in points and goals and on the backend Dylan Bartel, its leader in minutes from last year.
Berson is the winningest active coach in NCAA Division I men's soccer; one of only four coaches in Division I history to achieve 500 wins; and is 30 wins shy of becoming the winningest Division I coach of all time.
Berson's South Carolina coaching record stands at 503-245-75 (.659), with an overall coaching record of 514-249-75 (.660). Before founding the South Carolina program, he coached one year at The Citadel, where his team posted one of the best records in school history.
Under his direction, South Carolina teams have earned 21 NCAA Tournament appearances in 42 seasons. The Gamecocks have been to four NCAA Quarterfinals, two College Cups, and one College Cup Final. They have advanced to the second round 13 times.
Fans can watch all South Carolina home matches through gamecocksonline.com. Watch links can be found at the top of the story and on the men's soccer portion of the website under "live streaming."
GEORGIA SOUTHERN SERIES NOTES
Carolina holds a 5-0-2 advance all-time against Georgia Southern.
The Gamecocks have outscored the Eagles 23-8.
The past two matches between the two schools have finished with an overtime result.
Carolina has scored four or more goals four times against Georgia Southern with every match taking place in Columbia.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN SCOUT
The Eagles are set to play 10 matches this fall, as well as its conference tournament.
Southern was outscored 34-24 last season.
GS went just 4-4-1 on the road in 2019.