Match-ups against both New Mexico and New Mexico State in the same season for the first time in program history and a visit from defending Conference USA Tournament Champion Charlotte highlight the 2017 UTEP soccer schedule, as announced by head coach Kevin Cross Friday.
Eleven of the 19 games in the regular season will be held at University Field, including the first meeting with the Lobos since 2007. UTEP went 7-3 at home in 2016, aided by a league-leading best average of 540 fans. It marked the sixth time since joining C-USA that the Orange and Blue have paced the league in attendance.
“We are excited for the 2017 soccer season,” Cross said. “It will be very challenging as it always is in Conference USA soccer. We have some tough non-conference matches highlighted by an away game to start the season at New Mexico State. The New Mexico Lobos are back on our schedule so we can renew that rivalry, and we have a home game against Stephen F. Austin, a perennial NCAA tournament participant. We will look to build upon last year’s great season with the help and support of the best fans in Conference USA. We are very thankful we get to play soccer in El Paso!”
The Miners will tune up for the campaign with an exhibition home match against Pac-12 power Arizona (Aug. 13)
The 2017 season begins in earnest with the Miners venturing to Las Cruces to lock up with NM State (Aug. 18) in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10. It is the first time since 2012 that UTEP will christen the campaign on the road. The only other non-conference road games on the schedule will be at Wyoming (Sept. 1) and at Idaho State (Sept. 3).
UTEP will welcome Abilene Christian (Aug. 20) to town for its home opener. The contest will be the first of three straight and six of eight in the Sun City to wrap up non-conference play. The Miners will also play host to CSU Bakersfield (Aug. 25), I-25 rival New Mexico (Aug. 27), Incarnate Word (Sept. 8), Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 10) and New Mexico Highlands (Sept. 13).
With CSU Bakersfield being the first Friday home game, that game will also serve as the date for the annual UTEP Soccer Alumni Association tailgate, sponsored by Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q.
For the fourth straight year and the fifth time in the past six years, UTEP will begin C-USA play on the road with a match-up at Southern Miss (Sept. 17). The other league road tilts will be at defending regular-season champion North Texas (Oct. 6), at Rice (Oct. 8), at Florida Atlantic (Oct. 22) and at UTSA (Oct. 27).
After the game at USM, the Miners will have three straight and five of seven contests in the Sun City. The stretch starts with UAB (Sept. 24). The other four league home games will be against defending C-USA tournament champion Charlotte (Sept. 29), Old Dominion (Oct. 1), Middle Tennessee (Oct. 15) and Marshall (Oct. 19).
FAU will serve as the host for the 2017 C-USA Championships (Nov. 1-Quarterfinals, Nov. 3-Semifinals and Nov. 5-Final). Last year the seventh-seeded Miners made a run to the semifinals before falling to host and eventual champion Charlotte.
2017 UTEP Soccer Schedule
August 13 (Sun.) Arizona (Exhibition)
August 18 @ New Mexico State
August 20 Abilene Christian
August 25 CSU Bakersfield
August 27 New Mexico
September 1 @ Wyoming
September 3 @ Idaho State
September 8 Incarnate Word
September 10 Stephen F. Austin
September 13 (Weds.) New Mexico Highlands 7 p.m.
September 17 (Sun.) @ Southern Miss*
September 24 (Sun.) UAB*
September 29 Charlotte*
October 1 Old Dominion*
October 6 @ North Texas*
October 8 @ Rice*
October 15 (Sun.) Middle Tennessee*
October 19 (Thurs.) Marshall*
October 22 @Florida Atlantic*
October 27 (Fri.) @ UTSA*
November 1 Conference USA Quarter Finals @ FAU TBA
November 3 Conference USA Semi Finals @ FAU TBA
November 5 Conference USA Final @ FAU TBA
Home games in bold
*Denotes C-USA contest
All Times Mountain