West Virginia men climb to new heights

West Virginia has climbed to No. 3 in the United Soccer Coaches men's national poll, its the highest ranking in the program's 60 years.

The Mountaineers are 6-0-2 after wins over Dayton (3-0) and St. Bonaventure (4-0).

They play one of the toughest non-schedule schedules in the country, having already beaten two ranked teams -- Pitt (2-1) and Penn State (3-1) -- and tied a third, defending national champion Marshall (2-2).

The Marshall game, dubbed the “Mountain State Derby," drew a record crowd of 3,033 at Huntington's Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.

“I think it’s a great advertisement for college soccer and especially here in West Virginia” Mountaineers coach Dan Stratford told the Charleston Gazette after the Marshall game, "and it was a fair reflection of where we are in the [eyes of] the country. These are two top-five teams in my opinion. Both teams have done themselves justice.”

Stratford, a Mountaineer alumnus, was named West Virginia head coach in January 2020 after Marlon LeBlanc stepped down to move his family to the Philadelphia area, where his son is a standout in the Union academy program. Stratford led Charleston to two NCAA Division II national titles in three years in charge of the program.

In the Marshall game, West Virginia started players from Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain in addition to Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina and West Virginia, while Argentine Ciro Bourlot Jaeggi came off the bench to score the second Mountaineer goal.

Steven Tekesky, who picked up his fourth and fifth shutouts of the season against Dayton and St. Bonaventure, is one of three fifth year players who are starters along with Kevin Morris and Pau Jimenez Albelda.

West Virginia, the only team in the Big 12 with a men's soccer program, will move to Conference USA for men's soccer in 2022. It will open Mid-American play at home against No. 20 Akron on Thursday.
5 comments about "West Virginia men climb to new heights".
  1. frank schoon, September 29, 2021 at 8:35 a.m.

    Drew only 3000 for that game? 

  2. David Nelson replied, September 29, 2021 at 10:13 a.m.

    The Marshall facility has limited capacity.  It was standing room only with fans lining the entire perimter of the fields and the stands completely full.

  3. frank schoon replied, September 29, 2021 at 10:25 a.m.

    OK ,that's good to hear that it was packed! I hope WV becomes a dynasty in soccer for a while....

  4. Kent James replied, September 29, 2021 at 9:08 p.m.

    Frank, WV is not historically a soccer hotbed.  American football (and coal, as well as Trump) rule WV.  Historically it had some excellent NAIA and NCAA D-2 programs (A-B, D&E, Wheeling, WV Wesleyan and Charleston), but not much else.  Those schools recruited a lot of foreign players (I reffed many of their games for about 20 years, mostly British and Caribbean players, but they branched out over the years; not your brand of soccer; NAIA also had looser age limits, so you had a lot of players in their 20s; I'd liken the play to lower division English pros).

    WVU got good (men and women) about 20 years ago (and they have an excellent stadium, with good fan support).  But the WVU football team dominates the state (they say that when WVU plays football at home, something like 90% of the state is either in the stadium or watching it on TV). Youth soccer has a presence in WV, but it's been slow growth.  Geography doesn't help; very mountainous (not a lot of places to put roads) and not many population centers, so a lot of travel to get good competition.  I'm glad to hear WVU started some players from WV.  

    Given the history, I'm amazed that both WVU and Marshall are in the top 5 (and Pitt, about 90 miles north of WVU in the middle of Pgh Steelers country, is also excellent these days).  Real progress for the Western PA/WV region. 

  5. frank schoon replied, September 29, 2021 at 10:13 p.m.

    Kent, I understand Wva is not a hotbed of soccer although Davis and Elkins as far back as the late 60's had good soccer. The late Tom Martin, who coached and ran the James Madison Univ. program played at D&E ,with Hank Steinbrecher and did well. Alderson-Broaddus has had a program for a long time...

    The youth program is not strong .  I think the colleges rely much on foreign talent , I guess. I'm happy for Wva soccer. And perhaps the universities successes will further help the growth and interest there.

    I hope Marshall will continue their success

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