New University of North Texas (Denton) Soccer & Track and Field Stadium opened in 2019 (Image credit: UNT Athletics Communications)

The 2019 Texas College Soccer season is underway with preseason play beginning last week.  College Soccer programs (both 4-year and Community Colleges) generally play a compressed 15-20 game regular season that just recently began and ends in late October.  Conference and National playoffs, in the respective governing organizations (e.g., NCAA, NAIA), are concluded by early December.  Some universities, especially in Division I and II, also play abbreviated spring exhibition schedules.

Brief History of College Soccer in Texas

In simplistic terms, the first serious organized soccer leagues in the country originated in Northeast universities more than 100 years ago.  College soccer also has a history in Texas that extends much further back than any professional league in the State.  In his 2011 book Distant Corners, David Wangerin wrote about early attempts to establish the sport in Texas universities and others around the country.  SMU, Baylor and the University of Texas had soccer programs as far back as 1913.  These early Texas soccer programs, largely created and played by immigrants, were unable to gain traction and disappeared shortly thereafter.

After United States professional soccer, except for isolated pockets around the country, essentially went into hibernation in the 1930’s, the college game still continued to grow steadily around the country.  This growth was much slower to reach Texas and it wasn’t until 1973 that the Texas Intercollegiate Soccer League (Men’s) was formed.  SMU, which to this day is still the premier national Division I Men’s program in the State, was the first champion of this new league.  It wasn’t until 1978 that a Texas college soccer player was named an All-American:  Defender Greg Ryan from SMU.  The next year was the first time that a Texas college soccer team finished in the end of season Top 10, again SMU.  No Texas DI or DII Men’s team has ever won a national NCAA championship.  Trinity University from San Antonio is the only DIII Mens program that has won a championship-in 2003. Plainview’s Wayland Baptist University also won the NAIA Championship in 2018.

The first Women’s NCAA DI Title was awarded in 1982 and no Texas DI or DII Women’s team has ever won a national championship either.  Hardin Simmons University from Abilene is the only DIII Women’s program that has won a championship-in 2010.

Scope of the College Soccer landscape in Texas:

When I first put together the master list two years ago, I was surprised to see the size and breadth of college soccer in the State.  A total of 138 NCAA/NAIA/NCCAA/NJCAA (soccer (57 Men’s and 81 Women’s) programs are currently active in 83 universities and JCs in the State.  These schools play in a total of 15 different conferences and JC Regions.  It is estimated that more than 2,000 scholar athletes will compete in competitive college soccer in Texas this year.

  • NCAA Division I:     22 schools-26 programs (22 Women-4 Men)
  • NCAA Division II:   12 schools-21 programs (12 Women-9 Men)
  • NCAA Division III:  15 schools-30 programs (All both Men & Women)
  • NAIA:                        12 schools-24 programs (All both Men & Women)
  • NCCAA:                      2 schools-4 programs (All both Men & Women)
  • NJCAA:                      20 schools-33 programs (18 Women-15 Men)

2018 Review:

The 2017 season, arguably the best year ever for college soccer in Texas, was difficult to duplicate last year, but select teams made deep playoff runs and both Division 3 JC Championships were brought back to Texas in 2018. Highlights include:

  • Baylor University Women’s Soccer team secured its first Big 12 regular season title since 1998, finishing with a 12-4 record (8-1 in conference). The Bears advanced to their second straight Elite 8 appearance in the NCAA D I tournament and finished the season ranked Number 9 by United Soccer Coaches.
  • Tyler JC Women finished as a National Junior College Championship finalist (22-3-1)
  • West Texas A&M (Canyon) saw both their Men’s and Women’s teams advance to the Division II quarterfinals.
  • Richland College in Dallas won both the Men’s and Women’s Junior College National Championships. This is the third time that the school has won both titles in the same year. Richland is the only D3 school that has accomplished this feat-this was their third time.

2019 Season Notes:

  • United Soccer Coaches Preseason Top 25 Rankings (Texas schools):
    • Men’s Division I:  None
    • Women’s Division I:  Texas A&M (#12), Baylor (#14), Texas (#19), Texas Tech (#22)
    • Men’s Division II:  West Texas A&M (#9), Midwestern State (#14)
    • Women’s Division II:  West Texas A&M (#10), Dallas Baptist (#17)
    • Men’s Division III: Trinity (#9)
    • Women’s Division III:  Hardin Simmons (#10), Trinity (#18)
    • Men’s NAIA: None
    • Women’s NAIA:  None
    • Men’s NJCAA DI:  Tyler J.C. (#3), Northeast Texas (#8)
    • Women’s NJCAA DI:  Tyler J.C. (#2), Navarro (#5), Hill (#19)
    • Men’s NJCAA DIII:  Richland (#2),
    • Women’s NJCAA DIII:  Richland (#1)
  • 2018 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch Lists: Awarded annually to the best male and female college soccer players (men since 1967-women since 1991). The only winner that played for a Texas University is current FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez who won in 2001 at SMU.
    • Men:  Kyle Edwards-FW (UTRGV), Philip Goodrum (UNC Wilmington). Both played for Brazos Valley Cavalry (USL 2) this past summer.
    • Women:  Haley Berg-MF (University of Texas) (Celina), Kaylie Davis-FW (Texas State) (Allen), Cyera Hintzen-FW (University of Texas) (Garland), Dominique James-DF (University of North Texas) (Ft. Worth), Lianne Mananquil-MF (Rice University), Yazmeen Ryan-MF (Texas Christian University), Ally Watt-FW (Texas A&M)
  • The University of North Texas in Denton opened a new Soccer Stadium this year (image above). Denton Diablos played a portion of their NPSL season there this summer and the UNT Women’s Soccer team played their first match last week. Stadium capacity is approximately 1,500.
  • The NCAA Divison II Heartland Conference merged with the Lone Star Conference. 7 new universities were added to what is now a 19 team conference. The Lone Star Conference is now the largest D II Conference in the country and will include 14 Texas colleges, 12 of which will play Women’s soccer and 9 Men’s Soccer.

A complete list of all Texas college programs can be found in the link below

https://txsoccerjournal.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/texas-college-soccer-programs-2019-1.pdf

If you are aware of other programs I have not listed or find any mistakes in this list, please let me know at jeff@txsoccerjournal.com as I am trying to keep this list current.

Credit to the exhaustive work in the American Soccer History Archives for some of the historical data in this article.