West Virginia’s men’s soccer program is leaving the Mid-American Conference for Conference USA. The Mountaineers, members of the MAC since 2012, will join C-USA starting in the fall 2022 season.
With the addition of the Mountaineers, C-USA will have 10 members for men’s soccer, including 2020 national champion Marshall. The rest of the league includes: Charlotte, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion, UAB and affiliate members Kentucky, South Carolina and Coastal Carolina (starting in fall 2021).
“As we continue to build upon this year’s national championship in men’s soccer and a very deep and talented lineup of teams, we are pleased to welcome another traditionally strong program in West Virginia to enhance one of our conference’s most successful sports,” C-USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said.
West Virginia finished 6-3-1 in the spring 2021 season, including 4-3-1 in the MAC.
Despite having the No. 12 RPI, WVU was not selected for the NCAA Tournament.
Former WVU player Dan Stratford became the the Mountaineers’ head coach in January 2020 after replacing Marlon LeBlanc, who held that title from 2006-20019.
“We’re very excited by the news and our conference realignment for the fall of 2022,” Stratford said. “I must thank Shane Lyons, Simon Dover and the rest of our administration for their help, support, and foresight in our program’s transition. Conference USA has quickly become a men’s soccer powerhouse, with so many reputable schools that have a strong tradition. Our program’s ambition is to compete with the very best in the country, and we believe that Conference USA provides us the platform to do that.”
The Mountaineers joined the MAC after they left the Big East Conference. In LeBlanc’s final season, WVU won the MAC Championship to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, where they beat Butler before falling to Marshall.
“I want to thank the Mid-American Conference for providing WVU with a great home,” Stratford said. “I was part of the staff when we entered the MAC, and it has continued to be a tough league with a formidable RPI standing year after year. I have been particularly appreciative of my fellow coaches within the MAC, along with Jeff Bacon, who has done an incredible job navigating a very difficult campaign with the pandemic.”