By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - (Bracket / Schedule) (Press Book) Sixteen teams are ready to tangle in the 54th annual NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship final site, presented by Carrabba's Italian Grill in Montgomery, Ala. The championship kicks-off with No. 4 seed Rio Grande (Ohio) facing Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) at 11 a.m. CST on Nov. 26. There are eight second-round matches scheduled before quarterfinal play on Nov. 28, the semifinals on Nov. 30 and the national championship final on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m.
The event will be in Montgomery for the first time and is co-hosted by the Central Alabama Sports Commission and the Southern States Athletic Conference. The matches will be played at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex.
Since the tournament went to its current 16-team, single-elimination format in 1999, there have been nine different national champions. Nine-time and defending national champion Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) searches to become the seventh team in the history of the championship to repeat as titlists. Overall, four other programs playing in Montgomery have won at least one national title in addition to the Blue Raiders: Belhaven (Miss.), Hastings (Neb.), Mobile (Ala.) and Rio Grande (Ohio).
Seven teams are back at the national championship final site after appearing in 2011. Of that bunch, Lindsey Wilson has the most wins all-time with a 46-10-4 record and 20 total appearances. The Blue Raiders take on Concordia (Ore.) on Nov. 26 at 4 p.m. Senior Lebogang Moloto is part of an offense that ranks third in the NAIA with 4.1 goals per match. He is back after earning the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament honors during last year's title run.
No. 5 Science & Arts (Okla.) (14-0-4) is the only undefeated team in the bracket. The Drovers earned a bid as the At-Large No. 2 seed and prevailed against Grand View (Iowa), 2-0, in the Opening Round on Nov. 17. That shutout was the Drovers 11th of the year.
Since 2000, the top seed has won three national titles, with Lindsey Wilson winning on two of those occasions (2001, 2009). Former member Azusa Pacific (Calif.) took home the hardware in 2007. One more title for Lindsey Wilson would give it 10 overall, just one shy of the all-time NAIA record.
There are four teams that are unseeded with one squad, Jamestown (N.D.), playing in its first-ever national championship. The Jimmies are scheduled to play Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) on Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Auburn Montgomery is one of just four final site qualifiers with 10-or-more championship trip.
NeuLion, the NAIA's official video-streaming company of 12 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all matches of the 2012 Men's Soccer National Championship final site in Montgomery, Ala. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament pass is available for $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.