NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's soccer head coach David Costa released the program's 2019 schedule Wednesday.
Belmont will face four opponents who played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament and no fewer than 12 ranked in the top 125 of the final 2018 RPI.
"We are excited about the 2019 schedule," Costa said. "We feel the opportunity to play a difficult non-conference schedule early in the year will prepare us for the challenge of competing in the Southern Conference."
The Bruins' first of two home exhibition matches will be Aug. 18 vs. Central Arkansas. The Bears won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles last year; they begin year one of affiliate membership in the Sun Belt Conference.
The final tune-up will be Aug. 24 vs. Christian Brothers (TN).
Belmont will get familiar with the road kits to open the season, as the Bruins' first five regular season matches are away from the friendly confines of E.S. Rose Park.
Labor Day weekend commences with matches at Missouri Valley stalwart Bradley (Aug. 30) and at reigning Sun Belt Conference champion Georgia State. The Bruins have won two of the last three meetings.
From there, Belmont takes a rare West Coast road trip, visiting the land of Julie Foudy and Alex Morgan with matches at San Diego State (Sept. 6) and San Diego (Sept. 8). Belmont earned a 1-1 draw with the Toreros at E.S. Rose Park last season, despite playing a man down the final 65 minutes of the match.
The road stretch concludes Sept. 13 at Purdue Fort Wayne. The Mastadons went 10-8-1 last season.
The home opener comes Sept. 17 vs. in-state rival Memphis; the Tigers advanced to the American Athletic Conference semifinal round in 2018. Four days later, Presbyterian comes to town (Sept. 21); the Bruins won at the Blue Hose last year on a golden goal from Ares Marlonsson.
After a road trip to Eastern Illinois (Sept. 24) and a home date with NAIA Faulkner University (Sept. 28), Belmont opens October at national power and Atlantic Coast Conference champion Louisville.
The Bruins begin SoCon play with consecutive home matches vs. Wofford (Oct. 12) and UNC Greensboro (Oct. 15).
Following road dates with Mercer (Oct. 19) and VMI (Oct. 26), Belmont hosts ETSU on Senior Day Oct. 29.
Regular season play wraps up Nov. 2 at defending league champion Furman.
Belmont returns All-SoCon performers Marlonsson (Denver, Colo.) and Niccolo Dagnoni (Milan, Italy).
Fans can watch all Belmont home matches live and on-demand via ESPN+.