Cards set for exciting times

These are exciting times for University of Louisville men’s soccer.

For the past three years, the Cards have reached the NCAA Elite Eight, including reaching the College Cup decider in 2010 when runner-up to Akron.

With deep postseason runs now becoming more a norm than a novelty, Ken Lolla’s charges are preparing to play their final campaign at Cardinal Park before moving to a brand new $18.5 million venue.

The Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium, to be located by Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, will have a capacity of 5,300. The Lynns contributed a lead gift of $5 million toward construction of the venue.

Artist's impression of Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium. Photo courtesy of University of Louisville.

Artist’s impression of Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium. Photo courtesy of University of Louisville.

The stadium will be ready just in time for Louisville’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“The intimacy of the facility will make it a unique and exciting atmosphere for our players and the fans,” said head coach Ken Lolla during a recent Twitter Q&A ahead of the new season.

But for now, attention is focused entirely on 2013, coach Lolla’s eighth at the Louisville helm, and the 10th-ranked Cardinals (NSCAA coaches poll) will feature no fewer than 17 newcomers, many of them transfers.

This Friday (August 30), the Cards will kick off the new campaign away to 25th-ranked Virginia (8 p.m. ET). It will be the first ever meeting between the teams.

Gone from the squad is MLS first-round draft pick Andrew Farrell, now with New England Revolution, but Lolla is excited by the talent he has at his disposal this fall. Among those expected to shine are sophomores Marlon Hairston, Zack Foxhoven and Ricardo Velazco, and freshman Andrew Brody.

“Velazco, Brody and Foxhoven will be very dynamic players to watch with the potential to have a significant impact,” said Lolla.

“We will miss Andrew Farrell yet we expect Daniel Keller and Jimmy Ockford to team up as a formidable force in our defense.”

The regular season will also see Louisville take on College Cup holders Indiana on the road and Connecticut at home, two games Lolla said he is “most anticipating.”

Live audio of Friday’s Virginia-Louisville matchup will be available through CardsTV at GoCards.com.

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