By Trevor Lininger, NAIA Athletic Communications and Media Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Video Announcement | Bracket) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially announced the teams and Opening Round pairings for the 2017 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship. The 31-team event will get underway with 15 National Championship Opening Round matches at campus locations on November 18. Keiser (Fla.) is the 31st team in the field, but receives an NAIA Opening Round bye due to earning the host berth of the national championship final site in Delray Beach, Fla.
The 15 NAIA Opening Round winners will join Keiser in the Sunshine State for national championship final site action. The 16-team single-elimination event runs from November 27 – December 2 at the Seacrest Soccer Complex.
This year’s opening round field includes 24 automatic qualifiers, six at-large selections and one host berth. Automatic berths were given to teams that either won their respective conference tournament title, regular-season championship or finished runner-up during the regular season or at the conference tournament. The at-large bids were determined by the Soccer National Selection Committee, which is in existence for the first time. For more information on the National Selection Committee, go to Appendix B of the Soccer Coaches Manual.
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast all 15 matches live at the 2017 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship final site in Delray Beach, Fla. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video, statistics, and social interaction on a number of devices, including mobile. Single day passes can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-championship tournament package is available at $29.95. For more information and the pre-register, click HERE.
- No. 1 seed Oklahoma Wesleyan is making its seventh consecutive and total national championship appearance, dating back to its first appearance in 2011. The Eagles stand 4-4-2 in the postseason and have yet to win a national championship.
- This marks the first time that Oklahoma Wesleyan has earned the top seed in the championship. The highest ranking entering the championship the Eagles have received was No. 3 in 2013 and 2016.
- Defending national champion Hastings (Neb.) looks to be the first back-to-back champion since Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in 2000-01. This will be the Broncos 13th championship appearance. They have claimed two championships.
- No. 2 seed William Carey (Miss.) enters the postseason with a record of 17-1-0. The Crusaders captured seven consecutive No. 1 rankings and had a perfect record through the regular season. William Carey’s first loss came at the hands of Mobile (Ala.) in the Southern States Conference Tournament championship match.
- Rio Grande, Hastings, William Carey, Mobile, Lindsey Wilson and Westmont (Calif.) have all tallied 10-or-more postseason victories.
- Five qualifiers bring with them a previous national championship title: Hastings (2), Rio Grande (2), Lindsey Wilson (9), Westmont (1), Mobile (1).
- Waldorf (Iowa), Houston-Victoria (Texas), William Woods (Mo.), Southern Oregon, UC Merced and Truett-McConnell (Ga.) make up the six newcomers to compete in the opening round. Last year, there were four rookies that appeared.
- Grace (Ind.) snaps a 34-year hiatus from the national championship. Grace won the Crossroads League tournament championship match to earn an automatic qualifying berth to the opening round.
- Sixteen teams from the 2016 opening round are back for this year’s event.
- The Heart of America Athletic Conference lands the most representatives in the field with three programs.
- Rio Grande is the only team in NAIA postseason history to serve as Opening Round host all nine years, since the format began in 2008. This year will mark the tenth overall time the RedStorm will host on Nov. 18.
- Rio Grande is a perfect 9-0-0 in Opening Round matches and will host Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) this year.
- Oklahoma Wesleyan leads all qualifiers with 19 wins on the season. Hastings is next with a 18-3-0 mark.
2017 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Qualifiers
|School||Qualification||Season Record ^||Apps*||Record||Last Time||Titles|
|Baker (Kan.)||Heart of America Athletic Tournament Runner-Up||15-4-2||10th||6-8-1||2016||0|
|Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Regular-Season Champion||15-3-2||3rd||0-1-1||2013||0|
|Columbia (Mo.)||American Midwest Tournament Champion||17-2-2||7th||3-6-1||2016||0|
|Corban (Ore.)||Cascade Collegiate Tournament Runner-Up||15-2-4||5th||1-4-0||2016||0|
|Cumberland (Tenn.)||Mid-South Tournament Champion||15-2-2||2nd||0-1-0||2015||0|
|Grace (Ind.)||Crossroads League Tournament Champion||12-4-4||1st||0-0-0||-||0|
|Hastings (Neb.)||Great Plains Athletic Tournament Champion||18-3-0||13th||23-8-3||2016||2|
|Houston-Victoria (Texas)||Red River Athletic Tournament Champion||11-2-2||1st||0-0-0||-||0|
|Keiser (Fla.)||Final Site Host Berth||8-5-1||5th||8-6-5||2016||0|
|Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||At-Large||13-3-0||24th||51-13-6||2015||9|
|Madonna (Mich.)||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Regular-Season Champion||15-3-1||4th||1-3-0||2011||0|
|Marymount (Calif.)||California Pacific Regular-Season Champion||15-3-2||4th||4-1-2||2016||0|
|MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||At-Large||12-4-3||8th||9-7-3||2016||0|
|Missouri Valley||Heart of America Regular-Season Champion||15-2-3||7th||5-5-1||2015||0|
|Mobile (Ala.)||Southern States Athletic Tournament Champion||13-3-2||18th||27-16-2||2014||1|
|Northwestern Ohio, University of||Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Tournament Champion||14-5-1||4th||4-3-1||2016||0|
|Oklahoma Wesleyan||Kansas Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion||19-1-1||7th||4-4-2||2016||0|
|Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Regular-Season Runner-Up||11-8-1||6th||1-3-2||2016||0|
|Rio Grande (Ohio)||At-Large||14-1-2||17th||21-12-3||2016||2|
|Southern Oregon||Cascade Collegiate Regular-Season Champion||14-6-1||1st||0-0-0||-||0|
|St. Thomas (Fla.)||The Sun Tournament Champion||13-1-1||3rd||0-2-0||2016||0|
|Truett McConnell (Ga.)||Appalachian Athletic Tournament Champion||16-3-1||1st||0-0-0||-||0|
|UC Merced (Calif.)||California Pacific Regular-Season Runner-Up||13-2-4||1st||0-0-0||-||0|
|Waldorf (Iowa)||Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Champion||9-7-4||1st||0-0-0||-||0|
|Wayland Baptist (Texas)||Sooner Athletic Tournament Champion||14-5-1||2nd||0-1-0||2016||0|
|Westmont (Calif.)||Golden State Athletic Tournament Champion||10-4-3||17th||16-22-2||2008||1|
|William Carey (Miss.)||At-Large||17-1-0||11th||11-12-3||2016||0|
|William Woods (Mo.)||American Midwest Regular-Season Champion||13-3-3||1st||0-0-0||-||0|
|WVU Tech (W. Va.)||River States Tournament Champion||8-9-4||3rd||2-2-0||2016||0|
Opening Round Schedule
Saturday, Nov. 18
Match 1 – Waldorf (Iowa) (9-7-4) at No. 1 Oklahoma Wesleyan (19-1-1)
Match 2 – UC Merced (13-2-4) at No. 9 Vanguard (Calif.) (15-3-0)
Match 3 – Southern Oregon (14-6-1) at No. 8 Georgia Gwinnett (11-3-2)
Match 4 – Grace (Ind.) (12-4-4) at No. 5 Baker (Kan.) (15-4-2)
Match 5 – Northwestern Ohio (14-5-1) at No. 12 Columbia (Mo.) (17-2-2)
Match 6 – Wayland Baptist (Texas) (14-5-1) at No. 13 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (12-4-3)
Match 7 – Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) (15-3-2) at No. 4 Rio Grande (Ohio) (14-1-2)
Match 8 – WVU Tech (8-9-4) at No. 2 William Carey (Miss.) (17-1-0)
Match 9 – Corban (Ore.) (15-2-4) at No. 15 Hastings (Neb.) (18-3-0)
Match 10 – Westmont (Calif.) (10-4-3) at No. 10 Marymount (Calif.) (15-3-2)
Match 11 – William Woods (Mo.) (13-3-3) at No. 7 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (13-3-0)
Match 12 – Houston-Victoria (Texas) (11-2-2) at No. 6 Mobile (Ala.) (13-3-2)
Match 13 – Truett-McConnell (Ga.) (16-3-1) at No. 11 St. Thomas (Fla.) (13-1-1)
Match 14 – Madonna (Mich.) (15-3-1) at No. 14 Cumberland (Tenn.) (15-2-2)
Match 15 – Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (11-8-1) at No. 3 Missouri Valley (15-2-3)
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round and final site, click here.
^ Record taken from school’s DakStats page
* Championship information includes 2017 event