FAYETTEVILLE - First-year Arkansas head coach Colby Hale will see his soccer team face one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
Arkansas has games against five teams ranked in the preseason top 25 of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tiger poll.
The Razorbacks have games against No. 4 Florida State, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 21 Florida, No. 24 South Carolina and No. 25 Auburn.
"It's a good balance," Hale says. "We have teams with varying strengths and weaknesses. Any time you play in the Southeastern Conference, your schedule is going to be loaded. Our non-conference schedule will prepare us for the SEC, but it will also give us a chance to have some success and gain some confidence."
In addition to the five ranked teams, three other games are against teams receiving votes for the top 25 - LSU, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Of those eight games, five are at home at Razorback Field - Sept. 9 against Florida State, Sept. 21 Kentucky, Sept. 23 South Carolina, Oct. 12 Texas A&M and Oct. 14 Auburn. The road games are Sept. 28 at Tennessee, Sept. 30 at Florida and Oct. 25 at LSU.
Arkansas opens the season this week with home games on Friday at 7 p.m. against Austin Peay and on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Texas.