By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
The Bulls' final tune-up for the regular season is much more than an exhibition test.
The No. 5 USF men's soccer team will play the University of Tampa for pride and a nice piece of hardware in the annual Rowdies Cup 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
The Rowdies Cup, formerly known as the Mayor's Cup, celebrates the Tampa Bay Rowdies' 1975 NASL championship. The winner of USF vs. Tampa gets the honor of hoisting the actual 1975 NASL trophy each year.
"The Rowdies group of that decade has done the most for Tampa soccer. It's great to play a game in their honor and our team takes a lot of pride in this game," USF head coach George Kiefer said.
USF has gone 5-0-2 against Tampa since 2005 and proudly passed the trophy around last season after beating the Spartans, 2-1.
"It means a lot to the program, the team, and it's a special for the players and fans," Kiefer said.
The Bulls started their run to the regular season with a 2-1 win over Jacksonville on Tuesday night. Seniors Sebastien Thuriere and Brenton Griffiths both scored, while Kiefer's staff got a chance to evaluate the roster in front of a spirited crowd at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
Kiefer said the lineup for Saturday's game will be narrowed down a bit to give key players some quality minutes in preparation for the Bulls' season opener at home against Michigan on Friday, Aug. 24. Fans - and the Spartans - should expect to see the tempo cranked up with the Rowdies Cup prize on the line.
"It will be our goal to accelerate the match on Saturday, to play the game at a speed that Tampa is not comfortable with," Kiefer said.
Fans can make sure they reserve their seats for USF's regular season home slate by purchasing season tickets HERE.