FOUR BITS: soccer, Florida-Georgia, Donovan

1 » The 2014-15 athletic season officially kicks off for the Florida Gators on Friday at 7 p.m. when the No. 8 Florida soccer team hosts the Miami Hurricanes at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Gators soccer will be kicking off its 20th season, all of which have been led by head coach Becky Burleigh. Florida returns all 11 starters from 2013 with sophomore forward Savannah Jordan looking to build on her incredible freshman campaign. UF shared the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championship with Texas A&M and has been voted as the preseason favorite to repeat. Florida has won 13 SEC regular-season titles including seven of the last eight dating back to 2006.

2 » The school will be holding its first-ever Rally in the Swamp student pep rally on Sunday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m., six days before the Gators kick off their 2014 season against the Idaho Vandals on Saturday, Aug. 30. The event will include “Florida cheerleaders and dazzlers, mascots, head coach Will Muschamp and members of the Gator[s] football team.” While there, “students will learn some of the great traditions” of the program, distribute student section t-shirts, win prizes and eat pizza. As OnlyGators.com first reported on Wednesday, there are approximately 2,000 student tickets still remaining out of the school’s allotment of 21,500. According to executive associate athletics director Mike Hill, Florida has sold out its student section every season during his 21-year tenure with the program.


3 » Due to a $63 million renovation to EverBank Field that resulted in the removal of thousands of seats, the city of Jacksonville on Thursday was forced to approve a $1.4 million increase in additional funds in order to fit enough seats in the stadium for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party this season. Adding 5,000 seats normally cost the city $280,000, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record, but EverBank Field must now be fitted with 12,000 seats at a cost of $1.6 million in order to meet its contractual seating obligations to Florida and the Georgia Bulldogs (82,917 capacity). The contract for the game ends in 2016, though the city has no plans to stop holding the contest and will likely reach a new agreement with the schools in the next year or two.

4 » Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan took part in one of the best ALS Ice Bucket Challenges to date. The primary reason why Donovan’s attempt was so great is the fact that his dog unwittingly entered the shot and got doused with cold water.

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