INDIANAPOLIS -- The Horizon League Board of Directors has approved Belmont University as an affiliate member in the sport of men’s soccer.
The first affiliate member in the Horizon League in over 30 years, the Bruins will be eligible to compete in 2014. Belmont has played men’s soccer as an independent since the 2012 season and previously was in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
“We are excited to be adding Belmont as an affiliate member,” Horizon League Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone said. “The Horizon League can now provide a conference home for Belmont’s men’s soccer student-athletes while enhancing our non-conference scheduling opportunities in a number of other sports.”
In addition to the affiliate membership in men’s soccer, Belmont and the Horizon League have reached agreement on a non-conference scheduling partnership that will see the Bruins compete against league members in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and women’s soccer.
Over the next four years, Belmont will play six league members in men’s basketball home-and-home games as part of the non-conference scheduling agreement.
“This is a momentous day for our athletic department, and specifically our men’s soccer program,” Belmont University Director of Athletics Mike Strickland said. “Our goal throughout this process has been to find a respected, nationally-relevant home for our soccer program, and we have found that in the Horizon League. On behalf of our student-athletes, coaches, and support staff, we appreciate this opportunity and are thrilled to begin play.”
In the 2013 men’s soccer campaign, the Bruins went 6-10-2. Belmont played two Horizon League teams, defeating Cleveland State, 1-0, and falling to UIC, 2-0. In January, the Bruins announced the hiring of Bryan Green as the fourth head coach in the program’s history.
Belmont’s first league game as an affiliate member will come on Saturday, Sept. 27, when the Bruins host Valparaiso at E.S. Rose Park. The Horizon League Men’s Soccer Championship will run Nov. 11-16, with the regular-season champion hosting the semifinals and championship.