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NCAA Men's Soccer

NCAA Men's Soccer

Fixtures / Results / TV Schedules / Live Stream Listings

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Channels licensed to broadcast NCAA Men's Soccer in United States

ESPN » Seasons 2019-2032
ESPN has extended its ownership of the American Athletic Conference's global media rights in a 12-year deal from the 2020-21 season. Under the deal, ESPN may broadcast live college soccer matches on its linear TV networks, as well as on its OTT service ESPN+ in USA. Live match coverage will also be made available on the ESPN App online and on mobile devices.
Available on:
fuboTV » Seasons 2020-2032
College Soccer on fuboTV became available to subscribers in USA after the OTT platform signed a deal with Disney-owned ESPN networks in 2020 to carry their games live and on demand.




About NCAA Men's Soccer

The NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship, more commonly known as the College Cup, is an annual soccer tournament played each November through December in the United States among teams in Division I after the end of the regular season (which runs from August to November). The Championship was created in 1959 by the NCAA (the National Collegiate Athletic Association) and the first tournament had eight teams, which was won by Saint Louis University.

Initially, the Men’s Soccer Championship was a tournament for all colleges, regardless of what division the team played in. It did not become solely a Division I championship until 1972 when the NCAA created a separate tournament for Division II and Division III.

Division II, the second level of collegiate sports, has 40 teams competing in its Soccer Championship, which takes place from November to December after the conclusion of the regular season. Southern Connecticut State University and Seattle Pacific University are among the most successful teams in this division since the College Cup was created in 1972. There are over 200 men’s soccer teams in D-II, some of which offer athletic scholarships, but most do not.

Division III, which is the third tier of university sports, has 62 teams featuring in its Soccer Championship, which was founded in 1972 and holds their tournament in late November to early December after the regular campaign concludes. In total, there are over 400 men’s soccer teams featuring in NCAA Division III. Messiah College is the most successful side in this division; Tufts has also enjoyed success in recent years. In comparison to schools in Division I and Division II, Division III schools do not offer any athletic scholarships to students.

Meanwhile, as college soccer continued to grow and develop in the United States, the number of teams featuring in the Division I Men’s Soccer Championship has grown, albeit not necessarily at a rapid pace. After it became a solely independent competition in 1972, it had 24 teams and increased this slightly to 28 in 1989. By 1993, four more teams had been added, but it was not until 2001 that the tournament finally reached its present 48-team format.

There are over 200 soccer teams nationwide who have Division I status that feature in 24 conferences, including the Ivy League, the Patriot League, the Atlantic Coast, the Big East, and the Pac-12. Under the 48-team format, the pool is selected as such: 24 teams gain automatic tickets, and the other 24 receive “at-large” bids.

The 24 teams that get an automatic bid are all winners of either their respective conferences (21) or win their regular conference season titles (3) – notably the West Coast, Pac-12, and the Ivy League conferences do not have separate conference tournaments. The other 24 teams are selected based on how they perform during the regular season, as well as the overall strength of their conference versus that of their opponents, so a team in a more “difficult” division will be given consideration over one featuring in an “easier” conference.

Once the 48 teams are selected, they are then seeded (ranked) by the NCAA selection committee. Only the top 16 teams receive a seed, and in men’s soccer, these top 16 teams also get an added benefit: they get to skip the first round. The term is called a “bye”. The remaining 32 teams are paired off as per geographic location and have to battle it out in the first round for an opportunity to play a seeded team in the second round. This is done to give seeded teams an advantage to progress to the later rounds (in addition to the seeded side always getting to serve as the home team) but there are occasions where unseeded sides do upset the odds.

One example of this was at the 2019 championship, in which UC Santa Barbara defeated two seeded sides (St. Mary’s and Indiana University-Bloomington) and was really close to punching their ticket to the College Cup last four had they been able to beat fourth-seeded Wake Forest in the Regional Two quarter-finals.

The last four teams to make up the contestants of the College Cup come from each of the winners the four pre-designated brackets, which are simply called “Regional One”, “Regional Two”, and so on. Unlike in the women’s tournament, the names of the brackets do not change year after year because they are not named after the top seed in each group – moreover, given that the men’s teams are given a bye, the top-seeded teams end up playing fewer games overall under the tournament’s current format. Once teams arrive at the final four, there is no more home pitch advantage, and all teams play at a neutral ground.

All matches are single-elimination, meaning that the winner progresses to the next round, and the loser goes home. Ultimately, the winner of this tournament is crowned the national champion of NCAA Division I men’s collegiate soccer. Players in this competition also get the chance to clinch the coveted Hermann Trophy, an annual prize given to the best men’s soccer player in the United States. Past recipients of this honor include players like USMNT icon Claudio Reina, current ESPN personality Alexi Lalas, retired Stars and Stripes goalkeepers Brad Friedel and Tony Meola, and current Team USA player Jordan Morris.

Saint Louis University, University of Virginia, and Indiana University-Bloomington are historically the most successful sides in NCAA Division I Men’s soccer history. Hence, that is what makes UC Santa Barbara’s victory over Indiana at the 2019 championship in a match that many fans live-streamed online that much more impressive. UCLA is also another team that has done well in terms of the number of appearances at championships over the years. In recent times, other teams, such as Stanford and the University of Maryland, have started to break into the elite group, but they still have some ways to go to catch up to the likes of the top three in terms of silverware won.

Media Coverage

Coverage of NCAA Division I Men’s soccer in the US is provided through a range of options. There are both local and national broadcasts on TV, while fans can also follow their favorite college team via radio in some locations. However on-line streaming and on-demand access have become increasingly more popular, with many broadcasters and NCAA’s own website providing access for fans.

In several international locations, such as in Canada and in the UK, there are TV broadcasts and live streaming selections available both during the course of the regular season as well as for the College Cup.

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