CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – The Grand Canyon University Men’s Soccer team held their preseason training at Grande Sports World this week as they look ahead toward their second season in Division I of the NCAA.

“This is our second preseason here, I can’t describe how great it’s been,” said Head Coach Petar Draksin. “It’s brought us together not only as far as preseason training, athletic training, but also as a retreat: staying together in the hotel, having great meals and the facilities and soccer fields are first class. We’re just very lucky and fortunate to be able to be here.”

“We have a wonderful facility at Grand Canyon, so anytime we go on the road, I’m skeptical on what kind of facilities we’ll have,” said Chuck Howard, GCU Strength/Conditioning Coach. “This is a hidden gem. I walked in here and see Keiser equipment, the allocation of space and the way its laid out, its just perfect for training a group of guys. We have 35 guys and being able to train that many guys in this space, it’s a luxury, it really is.”

Draksin’s Lopes enter their second season as a Division I program and a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Last season saw some growing pains with a record of 4-14-1, but a pair of Grande Sports Academy alumni are hoping to turn GCU’s fortunes around.

Amer Sasivarevic, the 2013 assist leader for GCU, was excited to return to Grande Sports World for preseason training.

“It brings back old memories,” said Sasivarevic. “I talked to all of the coaches, it was good to reminisce, catch up and come back to these cool facilities.”

Sasivarevic will be joined by former Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy teammate Niki Jackson, who Coach Draksin has high hopes for in the upcoming season.

“Our program is excited about it, people across the country know and they’re questioning, ‘How in the world did he end up at Grand Canyon?’,” said Draksin. “We’re hungry, we want to recruit the best Arizona kids and keep them at home. We don’t want them going anywhere else.”

Grand Canyon University Men’s Soccer open the season on August 29 on the road in Wisconsin against Green Bay, with kickoff set for 2 pm.