The preseason No. 1 Stanford men's soccer team hosts an ezhibition match Saturday at 7 p.m. against Sacramento State. Admission is free.
The Cardinal went 18-2-3 a season ago, including a 7-1-2 mark in Pac-12 play, to earn its second consecutive conference title.
Stanford's magical season was capped with the program's first national championship in its 100-plus year history when the Cardinal routed Clemson, 4-0, at Sporting Park in Kansas City on Dec. 13.
“Last winter when we came back from break the team sat down and we decided it was time," senior captain Brian Nana-Sinkam said. “Our championship is in the past and people aren't going to continue praising us for that. We need to prove that we can do this more than once. We don't want to just be a one-off program. We want to leave our legacy."
A process-oriented bunch, Stanford heads into 2016 with the task of replacing five starters from a year ago, including MAC Hermann Trophy winner Jordan Morris and two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Brandon Vincent.
The transition will be made easier by what returns, including every minute in goal and two center backs for a unit that ranked sixth in the country in goals against average (0.62).
“I think going into the season you can always look at what people have done in the past," head coach Jeremy Gunn said. “But not until they show up for preseason do you know that they're moving forward, still pushing and still have their eyes on the prize.
“We hope we show the same resiliency, we hope that we continue to be wonderful ambassadors of college sport and of Stanford University and we hope that you're going to see the same type of mentality and attitude [as last year. We have a great nucleus of people that understand what we want to be."
“I see the talent in our young players in practice," Nana-Sinkam added. “No one outside sees it, but the team does. They've put in the work, it's their time to show everyone what they have end excel."
Stanford will be at home for 10 regular-season home matches plus Saturday's exhibition at a place where it has experienced significant success over the past two years. Stanford was unbeaten at Cagan Stadium in 2015 and is 19-1-6 in its last 26 matches on The Farm. The program's goals-against average at home since 2014 is a miniscule 0.54.