KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 2020 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round field has been set as national championship play is set to begin on Thursday. The 40-team NAIA Opening Round event at 10 campus locations will occur from April 22-24, 2021.

The 2020 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round is being played out at 10 sites throughout the nation as the winner of each tournament will advance to the final site in Columbia County, Ga. beginning on May 4th.

This year’s opening round field includes 27 automatic qualifiers and 13 at-large. Automatic berths were given to teams that either won their respective conference tournament title, regular-season championship, finished runner-up at the conference tournament or were awarded the conference automatic berth in the absence of a conference tournament. The at-large bids were determined by the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Selection Committee. This committee consists of one representative from each geographical area, a representative from the National Administrative Council, the president of the NAIA-Men’s Soccer Coaches Association, and three at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria.

All opening round matches will be streamed by the host institution.

Qualifier Highlights

  • No. 1 overall seed Central Methodist (Mo.) qualified for their 3rd time in program history and looks to collect their third consecutive red banner.
  • The Eagles have a perfect record at the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship of 10-0-0
  • The Eagles of Oklahoma Wesleyan earned the No. 2 overall seed and will face the Lynx of Lincoln (Ill.)
  • Oklahoma Wesleyan currently ranks No. 1 in four different statistical categories including total assists, total goals, assists per game and goals per game.
  • Briar Cliff (Iowa), Lincoln (Ill.), Southwestern Christian (Okla.) and Sterling (Kan.) are the four first-time qualifiers in the 2020 field.
  • Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) boosts the most tournament appearances in the field, with this year being their 27th. Following closely is Rio Grande (Ohio) and Mobile (Ala.) who are both qualifying for their 20th time.
  • Rocky Mountain (Mont.) and UC Merced (Calif.) both enter the 2020 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship undefeated with a record of 8-0-0
  • UC Merced is currently No. 1 in three different statistical categories including shutouts per game, shots per game, and shots on goal per game.
  • Seven programs have earned at least one national title in program history, highlighted by Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) who has claimed nine red banners in program history.
  • 25 of the 40 qualifiers are returning from the field last year
  • The No. 3 overall seed is Columbia (Mo.) enters the tournament 13-2-0, this is the Cougars’ 10th time in the field and they look to earn their first red banner in program history.
  • McPherson (Kan.) out of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference qualifies for the time since 2014 and will head to Olathe (Kan.) to play the Bruins of Bellevue (Neb.)
  • For a full look at all of the Opening Round tournaments and matchups, click HERE