First Touch #5: U-M Travels to Oakland and hosts Wisconsin in Big Ten Home Opener

Sept. 29, 2009

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. -- at Oakland (Pontiac, Mich.)
Live Stats

Sunday, Oct. 4, 1 p.m. -- vs. Wisconsin (U-M Soccer Complex)
Live Stats

The University of Michigan men's soccer team (7-2-0, 0-1-0 Big Ten) has two games this week as the Wolverines travel to in-state rival Oakland on Wednesday (Sept. 30) in a game scheduled at Ultimate Soccer Complex in Pontiac, Mich. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. U-M continues Big Ten action as it welcomes Big Ten foe Wisconsin at 1 p.m. at the U-M Soccer Complex in doubleheader action with the U-M women's soccer team. The men's team is the first game in the doubleheader. The women will take on Northwestern at 3:30 p.m.

U-M has a 7-1 non-conference record this season and is 3-1 in non-conference action on the road. The Wolverines open the Big Ten home slate with a 0-1 league record after losing to Penn State on Sunday (Sept. 27) and have a 2-5-2 record in Big Ten home openers with both of their wins coming against Northwestern during the 2003 and 2005 seasons.


Sunday, Oct. 4

Family Day -- The Michigan Soccer family is inviting local families to come cheer on the Wolverines for the Men's and Women's Doubleheader. Families can enter for a chance to participate in the family relays at halftime of the game, and the winners will receive a family entertainment prize package. We'll have inflatable games, sno-cones, and cotton candy for kids. Kids who attend the game will receive a voucher to be turned in on Saturday, Oct. 10th for an autographed mini soccer ball.

Kids Go Blue Club Day -- Hey, Kids Club Members, come to the game, and visit Eric Leifland's homeland of Sweden (without leaving Ann Arbor, of course)! Get your passport stamped and learn more about Sweden via a Swedish prize and trivia question with entry available to Kids Club members only. Complimentary admission will be awarded by showing a Kids Go Blue Club Membership Card. We will also have post-game autographs available for the young fans. For more information, contact the Kids Go Blue Club ( or (734) 647-0603.

Rec & Ed Day -- Michigan Men's Soccer is inviting all Ann Arbor Rec & Ed players out to the game! We'll have special inflatable games, cotton candy, and sno-cones available. Also, every kid to attend the game on Oct. 4 will receive a voucher to be turned in at the Oct. 10 game for a free autographed mini soccer ball.

Oakland -- U-M leads, 5-1-2
Wisconsin -- U-M leads, 7-2-3

Saturday, Oct. 10, 3:30 p.m.
-- vs. Indiana (U-M Soccer Complex)
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m. -- at Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Complete Stats (Through 9/27/09)

2009 Leaders

Mauro Fuzetti87216
Justin Meram95616
Hamoody Saad9339
Chris Blais9-97-2-01.31.756


Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) Meram, the 2008 National Junior College Player of the Year, is in his first season with the University of Michigan men's soccer team and has formed a 1-2 offensive tandem with senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford). Meram became the sixth player in U-M program history to record a hat trick with three goals off the bench in U-M's 5-1 win over Bowling Green on Sept. 23. Meram is tied for first on the team in points with 16 points and leads the squad in assists with six and has had two gamewinners.


Wolverines in Big Ten Home Openers -- The Wolverines have a 2-5-2 record in Big Ten home openers but have not won a league home opener since defeating Northwestern, 1-0, in 2005. The Wolverines fell to Michigan State in last season's home opener and tied Wisconsin, 2-2, in 2007 and tied Michigan State, 1-1, in 2006. U-M opens the home conference slate with the Badgers for the second time in the last three seasons. Michigan leads the series 7-2-3, but the teams have tied in each of the last three meetings.

State Pride on the Line -- When U-M matches up with Oakland on Wednesday (Sept. 30) it will be the third time this season the Wolverines have faced an in-state opponent. U-M defeated Detroit, 3-1, on Sept. 16 and Western Michigan, 5-1, on Sept. 19. The Wolverines have an 18-10-5 record against opponents from the state of Michigan and a 5-1-2 record against Oakland. U-M will face in-state rival Michigan State in a Big Ten matchup on Oct. 25.

U-M Offense Racking Up the Goals -- After opening the season with only four goals through the first three games, U-M's offense exploded for 10 goals in the last two games before facing Penn State. U-M defeated Western Michigan 5-1 on Sept. 19 with five different players recording goals and followed that performance with a 5-1 win over Bowling Green on Wednesday, Sept. 23, behind three goals from junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College). The last time U-M scored 10 goals in a span of two games was during the 2008 season when it opened the season with eight goals in games against Wisconsin-Green Bay and Oregon State.

Streak Snapped -- U-M's loss to Penn State on Sunday (Sept. 27) snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Wolverines. Prior to the Penn State game, U-M's last loss was in the season opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 1. Michigan's seven straight victories tied a program record that was set during the 2007 campaign when U-M opened the season with seven straight victories

Fuzetti on Fire -- Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) has been a crucial piece to the U-M offense this season. Fuzetti, who leads the team with seven goals and 16 points, has scored in each game that he has played in this season, with the exception of the season opener at Notre Dame. In fact, Fuzetti has accounted for 30 percent of U-M's offense this season.

Fuzetti Moving Up the Ranks -- Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) is poised to make some noise in the U-M record book this season. Fuzetti, who is U-M's leading scorer with seven goals on the season, is fourth all-time at U-M with 58 career points and is tied for fifth with 22 career goals. He's also third all-time with 151 shots. Fuzetti is also poised to break into U-M's top five all-time in assists. He currently has 14 career assists and only needs two more to move into a tie for fifth place with former U-M great Knox Cameron (2001-03).

Just Blais -- Junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash. /Kennedy Memorial) has backstopped the Wolverines to a seven-game win streak this season and has done so in impressive fashion. In his first outing, he recorded a career-best six saves against Notre Dame (Sept. 1) and also posted back-to-back shutouts against Wright State (Sept. 11) and Lipscomb (Sept. 13) at the Michigan Invitational. He went 258:49 minutes without being scored on until Detroit scored a goal in the 28th minute against Detroit.

Hat Trick, Anyone? -- Junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) became the sixth player in program history to record a hat trick when he found the back of the net three times against Bowling Green (Sept. 23). Meram's hat trick is the first for the Wolverines this season. Meram also added an assist in the victory for seven points on the day. His seven points are a Big Ten game high this season. U-M had two hat tricks last season; senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) scored three goals against Detroit, while former Wolverine Peri Marosevic (2006-08) netted three markers against Western Michigan.

Fit To Be Tied -- The Wolverines and Badgers have a knack for ties. The last three times the teams have met have ended in a tie. In the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament last season, after two overtime periods, the teams went into a penalty kick shootout with the Wolverines advancing. The teams also battled to a 1-1 tie during the regular season. In fact, the Wolverines' three ties with Wisconsin are the most ties U-M has with any opponent.

Second-Half Offense is on Point... -- The Maize and Blue seems to have a knack for getting its offense up and running in the second half. Against Drake on Sept. 3, U-M posted two second-half goals after entering halftime tied at 0-0 to take a 2-1 win, and against Valparaiso on Sept. 6, the Wolverines found themselves trailing 1-0 and fought back with two second-half goals to take a 2-1 victory. U-M's biggest second-half output has been three goals. U-M scored three second-half goals against Wright State (Sept. 11), Lipscomb (Sept. 13), Detroit (Sept. 16) and Western Michigan (Sept. 19). U-M is outscoring its opponents, 14-8, in the second half and four of the opponent goals came in the season-opening loss to then-No.12 Notre Dame. U-M failed to score a second-half goal for only the second time this season in a 2-0 loss to Penn State on Sept. 27.

First-Half Offense Comes into Play -- Although the Wolverines seem to have knack for scoring in the second half, U-M scored two first-half goals against Western Michigan on Sept. 19, the first first-half goals since scoring two against Lipscomb on Sept. 13, marking a span of two games without a first-half tally. U-M has four first-half goals as opposed to 14 second-half goals.

U-M Men's Soccer Program is approaching 100th program victory -- The Wolverine men's soccer team is fast approaching its 100th program victory. U-M has a 97-74-18 program record heading into this weekend and needs only three more wins to reach the century mark. Head coach Steve Burns will also pick up his 100th career victory at the helm of the program; Burns has the distinction of being the only head coach in U-M men's soccer history.

The Week That Was
For the first time since the opening week of the season, the Wolverines split games this week. U-M posted a 5-1 victory over Bowling Green on Wednesday (Sept. 23) and dropped its Big Ten opener to Penn State, 2-1, on Sunday (Sept. 27). In the win over Bowling Green, the Falcons struck first, but the Wolverines responded with four unanswered goals, including a hat trick from junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich. /Yavapai College) for their seventh consecutive victory. Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) and freshman midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich. /Dearborn) also scored in the victory. U-M traveled to Penn State for its Big Ten opener and could not find any offense, falling 2-0 to the Nittany Lions and snapping a seven-game winning streak. Junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial) made four saves in goal and gave up a goal in the second half for the first time since Drake scored in the 61st minute on Sept. 3.

Wolverines Rank High In Big Ten Rankings
Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) is ranked in several categories in the Big Ten offensive statistics. He leads the league in shots (27) and shots per game (4.38) and is second in points (16), points per game (1.88), goals (7) and goals per game (0.88). Junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich. /Yavapai College) leads the league in assists with six helpers on the season, while freshman midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich. /Dearborn) is tied for sixth with three assists. Junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash. /Kennedy Memorial) leads the league in saves with 34. As a team, U-M leads the league in shots (153), points (69), goals (23), goals per game (2.56), assists (23) and assists per game (2.56).

U-M Holds Several Big Ten Team Highs
Individually, junior forward Justin Meram's (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) three goals and seven points against Bowling Green is tops of a Big Ten player this season and as a team the Wolverines own several top spots. U-M's 18 points against Western Michigan (Sept. 19) and 16 points against Bowling Green (Sept. 23) are the top two team highs for a Big Ten season and the five goals U-M scored against Western Michigan (Sept. 19) and Bowling Green (Sept. 23) are among the top goals scored this season.

In The National Rankings
This week, the Wolverines are receiving votes in the latest NSCAA/adidas national poll released on Sept. 29. In the NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes region poll, U-M is ranked No. 6. Last week, the Wolverines were No. 24 the national poll and we ranked No. 5 in the regional poll. Additionally, the Maize and Blue is ranked No. 21 in's tournament 48 poll and No. 26 in College Soccer News' Top 30.

Former Wolverine Peri Marosevic Pens a Diary from the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt
Former Wolverine forward Peri Marosevic, a member of FC Dallas of the MLS, will be penning a Under-20 World Cup Diary of his experiences with the USA U-20 National Team at the upcoming World Cup being held Sept. 24-Oct.16 in Egypt. Peri has spent time with the Under-20 national team at the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Under-20 Championship in March in Trinidad & Tobago. [ Read his blog here ]

2009 Season Marks U-M's First Decade
The U-M men's soccer team will celebrate its first decade this season. The Wolverines played their first season as a varsity team in 2000 and have been to three NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2003, their first appearance in the national tournament. The Wolverines honored the 2000 men's soccer team, it's first season as a varsity sport. Stay tuned to for upcoming events celebrating U-M's first decade.

Introducing the Captain and his helpers
Senior defender Daniel Gray (Setauket, N.Y./Chaminade) is serving as a captain for the second consecutive season. Last season, Gray served as a tri-captain with Mike Holody and Jake Stacy, but this season Gray is leading the Wolverines by himself but not without help. In something new this season, junior defender Chase Tennant (Rochester, Mich. /Rochester) and senior Julian Robles (Los Angeles, Calif. /Damien) will be serving as assistant captains.

Captains Corner
U-M senior captain Danny Gray (Setauket, N.Y./Chaminade) will give readers a glimpse inside the men's soccer program with his captain's blog, Captains Corner with Danny Gray. [ Check out his first post ]

Hey...We're on Twitter!
Michigan men's soccer is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_msocc) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

2009 Yearbook and Record Book
Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook Check them both out in our new publications section.

The U-M Soccer Complex
The Wolverines moved into the U-M Soccer Complex during the 2008 campaign, a three-field, soccer-exclusive facility that is part of a $6 million project that is funded by Intercollegiate Athletics resources and gifts. Work will begin on the stadium, slated to open in the fall of 2010, in October on the site of the current competition field. The men's soccer team played its home games at the Michigan Soccer Field, an all-grass field on South State Street since its inaugural season in 2000 and compiled a 38-18-7 record in eight seasons. The first game played by the men's team was a 1-0 victory over DePaul. The field also played host to 2004 Big Ten Championship and twice was the site of a U-M NCAA Tournament contest.

The Leader of the Maize and Blue
Steve Burns enters his 10th season at the helm of the University of Michigan men's soccer program. He has guided the Wolverines to three NCAA Tournament appearances, seen the team to varsity status, overseen the proposition and execution of the new U-M Soccer Complex and built a program that is consistently among the nation's elite. Burn's resume also includes leading the U-M club soccer team to back-to-back national titles.

Burns' staff is made up of associate head coach Paul Snape, assistant coach Chris Grassie and volunteer assistant Waldir DeSouza. Snape is in his seventh season with the U-M program and was recently elevated to his current position of associate head coach after spending six seasons as the first assistant. Prior to his tenure at Michigan, Snape spent seven seasons playing with the Mid-Michigan Bucks. Grassie, who enters his third season with the Wolverines, played professionally in England, most recently with Kidsgrove Athletic, then a part of the Alliance Premier League, and Northwich when it was part of the Football Conference. He also spent the 2004-06 season on staff at Marshall University where he focused on team training, goalkeepers and recruiting. DeSouza is back with head coach Burns for his 10th season and will continue to help the Wolverines with the management of team training and fitness.

Rank and File

Michigan earned a No. 22 preseason ranking by the National Soccer Coaches of American (NSCAA) and a No. 24 ranking in TopDrawerSoccer's preseason edition of the 2009 men's tournament 48 ranking. The Tournament 64 rankings are a running attempt to project the postseason college soccer tournament qualifiers, including every automatic conference berth.

Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423

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