New Jersey men's soccer team's 2017 schedule full of litmus tests as team aims for second consecutive USCAA National Tournament appearance

New Jersey men's soccer team's 2017 schedule full of litmus tests as team aims for second consecutive USCAA National Tournament appearance

The Berkeley College New Jersey men's soccer team announced its 2017 regular season schedule on Wednesday morning. The Knights – who solidified the program's first-ever trip to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Soccer Championship Tournament last year with a 10-victory campaign – will shoot to qualify for a second consecutive Nationals appearance this fall.

The Knights' balanced slate will begin on Friday, September 1, as Berkeley will take on Christendom in Front Royal, Virginia. A day later - on September 2 - Berkeley College will travel to Takoma Park, Maryland for a match against Washington Adventist. Following that season-opening pair of matches, the Knights play a local road game against the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey on September 6, before beginning a string of five straight matches against Penn State institutions. Berkeley will take on  Penn State-Wilkes Barre (September 8), Penn State Mont Alto (September 9), Penn State York (September 13), and Penn State Lehigh Valley (September 16), before contesting Penn State Hazleton in its home-opener on September 18.

Berkeley College will then closeout September with a neutral-site contest against the College of St. Joseph's (Vermont) on Saturday, September 23, a road game against defending USCAA champion Maine Fort Kent on Sunday, September 24, and a road match at Valley Forge University on Wednesday, September 27.

The schedule becomes especially challenging once the schedule flips to October, with the Knights set for contests against the College of St. Joseph's Vermont on October 1 and Dean College on October 2. The October 1 match against the Fighting Saints will be the Knights' second game against the College of St. Joseph's (Vermont) in a span of nine days, and the October 2 tussle with Dean will be a rematch of a match that took place at the USCAA National Tournament back in November, when the Bulldogs defeated Berkeley 6-0 in the opening game of pool play.

Following those two tough tests to start the month, the Knights will play three straight road matches against Bryant & Stratton-Syracuse (October 6), SUNY-Delhi (October 7), and Ramapo College (October 9). Berkeley College then closes the book on the 2017 regular season with a pair of home games – an October 12 battle with Maine Fort Kent, and an October 20 matchup against Washington Adventist. October 20 will also serve as Senior Day for the Knights. Following the release of the schedule, Head Coach Bruno Ferreira gave his thoughts.

"Just taking a glance at our 2017 schedule, it is definitely one of the most balanced slates we've ever had here at Berkeley College," expressed Ferreira. "I truly believe our team took a huge step forward with a Nationals qualification back in 2016, and now our guys are hungry to follow that up with another appearance this fall. Playing opponents of the caliber of the schools that are on this schedule, I feel as though our team will be battle-tested should we once again earn a bid to compete at Nationals. We're all excited for the start of the season."

Those interested in viewing the entire 2017 schedule – including dates, times, and locations – can click the link below:

2017 New Jersey Men's Soccer Schedule