By Travis Rae, Eastern Oregon Sports Information Director
LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University (EOU) Director of Athletics, Anji Weissenfluh, has announced that EOU will add men's soccer to its athletic program.
"I am excited to announce the addition of men's soccer as an EOU sport," stated Weissenfluh. "By adding soccer we will help increase enrollment, be able to recruit regional soccer stand-outs, and offer an even better student experience."
Men's Soccer will start competition during the 2015-16 school year and compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
"The addition of EOU men's soccer certainly enhances the sport at our conference level," said Cascade Conference Commissioner Rob Cashell. "With the decision we anticipate having 10 teams beginning in 2015 when just a short time ago we were faced with only having seven schools sponsoring men's soccer."
The addition of men's soccer at Eastern Oregon will be a first, as the institution has never had a men's soccer team in the history of the athletic department.
"Men's soccer is part of what will make EOU successful and sustainable for the future," said EOU Interim President Jay Kenton. "I came here to position the university for success and I believe soccer is part of that."
The search for a head coach and recruitment of student-athletes will begin immediately.
"We are focused on finding a high quality coach and to find non-conference games for the upcoming season," remarked Weissenfluh.
In Union County alone, over 600 youth are involved in soccer. With that number soley in a rural county, student involvement numbers across the state and in the tri-state region are booming with potential recruits.
Adding the soccer program, these youth will have a place to continue their education, as well as their sport.