Soccer to stay in SoCon

Trevor McNaboe

Trevor McNaboe

With many sports at Georgia Southern University, conference realignment will take place as the majority of the athletics offered at GSU will move to the Sun Belt Conference with the exception of one program: men’s soccer.

So where exactly will the men’s soccer team end up since the Sun Belt doesn’t offer it?

As alarming as it sounds, when you really go down and look at the facts I don’t think GSU will be going anywhere.

The Eagles have a lengthy history of playing soccer in the Southern Conference as they have played the last 22 seasons in the league beginning in 1991.

Although a majority of the teams at GSU will have left the Southern Conference, the Eagles men’s soccer program can still be a part of this conference. However, instead of being a full-time member the men’s soccer program instead will be an associate member.

A common example of associate membership would be the University of Notre Dame basketball being the only program in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for that school.

Appalachian State University is also making a move with to the Sun Belt, however they are keeping their men’s soccer team as an associate member of the SoCon.

This is a big positive for the Eagles as it increases the chances of them also being an associate member.

The only other conference I could even see GSU potentially being in is the Big South Conference, as in the past two seasons GSU has played a total of eight games against Big South opponents. GSU also participates in the annual SoCon/Big South Challenge.

GSU in its time as a member of the SoCon has made the SoCon Championship twice (1996 and 2006) and are coming off back-to-back semifinal appearances.

Three new schools will be added to the SoCon mixture in the near future as East Tennessee State University, Mercer University and Virginia Military Institute all are coming in 2014.

I look to see GSU playing in a different SoCon but the SoCon nonetheless. The Eagles are a cornerstone member of this conference so I wouldn’t rule it out that it won’t stay that way.