Aggie soccer opening season at Rio Tinto

For the second-straight season, the Utah State soccer team will play a match at Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake. The Aggies open the 2010 season against in-state rival Weber State on Friday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. The match with the Wildcats is the second-half of an all Beehive State doubleheader. In the first match, Southern Utah will take on Utah Valley at 5 p.m. “Playing in Rio Tinto Stadium was one of the highlights of our 2009 season, so when the opportunity to play there again this year came up, we jumped at it. It is one of the premier soccer facilities in the country. They are fantastic hosts, and the atmosphere there is incredible,” USU head coach Heather Cairns said. Tickets are $5 for adults and provide admission for both matches. Any youth (17 and under) wearing a soccer jersey will get in for free. Rio Tinto Stadium is located in Sandy, Utah, at the heart of the Wasatch Front. It is only 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and 25 minutes from SLC International Airport. The state-of-the-art facility opened in October of 2008 and was the sight of the 2009 MLS All-Star game. The world-class venue seats 20,000 people for MLS matches and other sporting events. The capacity can increase to 25,000 for concerts. Stadium amenities include 32 luxury suites, a 2,000-square foot Stadium Club, 1,000 premium club seats, five locker rooms, a 60-foot Video Board, and ribbon LED boards stretching 200 feet long. Last season, forward Shantel Flanary’s overtime goal in the 99th minute gave Utah State the 2-1 win over Utah. It was the Aggies’ first win against the Utes since 1997. The Aggies return 13 letterwinners and eight starters from last year’s team that finished 10-9-2 and advanced to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals. USU brings back four seniors in forward Lauren Hansen, midfielders Heather Pond and Stefani Shiozaki and goalkeeper Aleena Shelton. USU will play its first “true” home match on Sunday, Aug. 22 against Utah Valley at 1 p.m. at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field. The blue and white squad will play its first road match on Sunday, Aug. 29 in Pocatello, Idaho against Idaho State. Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.

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