Gamecock men’s soccer hosts Kentucky in Mark Berson’s final home game
COLUMBIA, S.C. —- South Carolina men’s soccer is set for what is sure to be an emotion-filled day on Saturday when it plays host to Kentucky in the regular season finale. Kick is set for 2:00 p.m. ET from Stone Stadium and will stream through gamecocksonline.com with live stats provided, as well.
The Gamecocks will be honoring their four seniors (Kyle Gurrieri, Nick Brady, Justin Bauer, and Jared Gulden) as they also say farewell to legendary head coach Mark Berson who is set to retire after 43 seasons in Columbia.
The winningest active coach in the country, Berson has led the Gamecocks to 22 NCAA Tournaments and 35 winning seasons. A University of North Carolina alumnus, he came to Columbia to start the program in the spring of 1978 and opened the program with a 13-3-1 mark. A year later, the Gamecocks posted a 14-5-0 record on their way to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
While in Columbia, Berson has coached 13 All-Americans and 15 Freshman All-Americans. Since 2005, Berson’s student-athletes have garnered 79 All-Region honors and 59 All-Conference USA honors.
The Gamecocks have also excelled in the classroom with 31 Academic All-American selections. Berson’s teams have twice posted the highest GPA in that nation (2010 and 2013) and have earned 12 NSCAA Academic Team Awards (1999, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016). Since joining C-USA in 2005, Carolina has had the highest GPA in the league six times (2008-09, 09-10, 11-12, 12-13,16-17 and 17-18).
A highly respected individual throughout the soccer community, Berson received two major honors in 2015. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) presented him with the Bill Jeffrey Award, given to an individual for outstanding service or achievement in college soccer, at its annual convention in January. In the fall, Berson was inducted into South Carolina Lettermen’s Association Hall of Fame, where he joined six of his former players.
Heading into Saturday’s season finale, Berson has accumulated 522 wins in his career, 511 of which have come at South Carolina.
Carolina comes into the contest with a two-match winning streak, having outscored its past two foes 9-2. As of Thursday, Brian Banahan leads Conference USA with 16 points and seven goals in 15 matches played.
The Gamecocks will be looking for their first win in the series since 2016.