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Florida opened practice for the 2013 season Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday August 7, 2013Florida soccer opens practice for 2013 season

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida opened practice for the 2013 season Wednesday afternoon.

The Gator soccer team kicked off the campaign with their first training session Wednesday afternoon at Florida’s Lacrosse/Soccer Complex.

During the 2012 season, Florida turned in a record of 19-5-1 and won both the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles. Florida will start the 2013 season ranked one spot below the rank it held on the BennettRank at the end of the 2012 season - No. 5.

The 2013 Gator roster runs 27 deep. The 2013 Florida roster is fairly even between upper and lower classmen, as 15 are either freshmen or sophomores while the remaining 12 are juniors or seniors. Florida returns six starters from the 2012 team that reached the NCAA Third Round. The Gators return two who have earned All-SEC honors during their careers – senior Taylor Travis (2010 All-SEC second team) and sophomore Christen Westphal (2012 All-SEC second team). Junior Havana Solaun, who is part of the U.S. Under-23 National Team player pool, was second among the 2012 Gators with 22 points off of seven goals and eight assists. Fellow junior Annie Speese was fourth in 2012 with 16 points after turning in six goals and four assists.

The eight-member freshman class has played with state, regional, national and/or international teams, including goalkeeper signee Nora Neset Gjøen (Bergen, Norway). Gjøen spent the summer with Norway’s Senior National team who finished as the 2013 EURO Championships runner-up. Another international signee, Pamela Begič (Semic, Slovenia), played with Slovenia’s team in qualifying action for the 2013 Women’s EURO. Liz Slattery (Cincinnati, Ohio) is a 2011 and 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) High School All-America selection. Meggie Dougherty Howard (Largo, Fla.) and Savannah Jordan (Fayetteville, Ga.) have attended age group national camp at the U.S. National Training Center in Carson, Calif.  Kristen Cardano (Tulsa, Okla.), Jordan, Katie Richmond (Pensacola, Fla.) and Brooke Sharpe (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) all have been part of state and regional Olympic Development Program (ODP) teams.

Soccer is the first Florida team competing this season, as the Gators open the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 23 when Florida Gulf Coast comes to the James G. Pressly Stadium for a 7 p.m. match. Admission is free for all Gator home regular-season action. Florida will play an exhibition match at UCF on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. Florida soccer will join the football and volleyball teams at the 2013 Fan Day on Saturday, Aug. 17 to sign autographs.



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