NEW ORLEANS, La. (WAVY) — With the Sun Belt Conference bringing back men’s soccer, James Madison and Old Dominion will be in one of the top soccer conferences in the country.
The Dukes and Monarchs will be joined by fellow full Sun Belt league members Marshall, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, and Georgia State, as well as men’s soccer only members Kentucky, West Virginia and South Carolina (the SEC and Big 12 don’t sponsor men’s soccer).
“These elite programs will lend instant credibility and help establish the Sun Belt as one of the nation’s premier men’s collegiate soccer conferences,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill in the announcement on Wednesday. “They each bring their unique traditions and histories of excellence. We welcome them and look forward to a bright future on the pitch.”
Overall, the nine teams have combined for more than 100 NCAA Tournament appearances.
Marshall, ODU, Coastal Carolina, Kentucky and South Carolina have recently been together in Conference USA. JMU has been in the CAA, and WVU, Georgia State and Georgia Southern have been in the MAC.
Marshall just won a national title back in May 2021 (for the 2020 season that was moved due to COVID) and South Carolina is just one of 24 programs to make 20 or more NCAA Tournament appearances (they were the NCAA runner-up in 1993).
West Virginia made the Elite 8 in 2021 (and has 15 NCAA appearances) and Kentucky reached the Round of 16 (they’ve made four straight NCAA Tournaments and have 12 appearances).
JMU has been frequently inside the top 25 in recent years and made a quarterfinal run in 2018 (they have 17 NCAA appearances and 3 quarterfinals overall). ODU has struggled in recent years, winning just 7 games over the past 3 seasons in Conference USA, but has 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Round of 16 appearances.
Among the other members, Coastal Carolina has 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Round of 16 in 2017. Georgia State got an at-large bid in 2021 and won its first round matchup before falling to eventual Final Four team Georgetown. Georgia Southern comes in as the weakest member with just two regular season championships all-time.
Saturday, September 17 – at Georgia Southern
Saturday, September 24 – vs. James Madison
Saturday, October 8 – vs. West Virginia
Saturday, October 15 – at Marshall
Wednesday, October 19 – vs. South Carolina
Sunday, October 23 – at Coastal Carolina
Friday, October 28 – at Kentucky
Tuesday, November 1 – vs. Georgia State
Saturday, September 17 – vs. Georgia State
Saturday, September 24 – at Old Dominion
Saturday, October 1 – vs. Kentucky
Saturday, October 15 – at Georgia Southern
Wednesday, October 19 – vs. West Virginia
Sunday, October 23 – at South Carolina
Friday, October 28 – vs. Coastal Carolina
Tuesday, November 1 – at Marshall