MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - From the NAIA Director of Sports Information and Media Services office:
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has awarded the 2012 and 2013 Men's Soccer National Championships to Montgomery, Ala. Co-hosted by the Central Alabama Sports Commission (CASC) and the Southern States Athletic Conference, the matches will be played at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex. The 2012 National Championship will be contested from Nov. 26 – Dec. 1 and the 2013 event from Dec. 2 – 7. Carrabba's Restaurant of Montgomery will be the presenting sponsor.
"We are excited about this event being played in Montgomery," said NAIA Director of Championships, Eric Olson. "We are confident that the Central Alabama Sports Commission and the Southern States Athletic Conference, along with the city of Montgomery, will go the extra mile in making the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championships an outstanding experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans."
The city of Montgomery is partnering with the YMCA to construct a new complex at the existing Emory Folmar Soccer Fields. On Jan. 19, 2011, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange signed a multi-million dollar contract to upgrade the facility and elevate the venue to a professional-level soccer playing field. The new complex is situated near the campus of NAIA member institution Auburn Montgomery with a proposed completion date of April 2012.
Upon completion, the complex will include eight lighted regulation soccer fields, two championship stadium fields, seating for 4,000 spectators, a press box, concession facility and restroom facility. There will also be an indoor practice facility for competing teams. Completely redesigned, the complex will feature user-friendly access and state-of-the art amenities.
"On behalf of Mayor Todd Strange, the City of Montgomery and the CASC, we are ecstatic about receiving the bid for the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship for 2012 and 2013," said Ken Blankenship, Central Alabama Sports Commission Executive Director. "All of the entities of the community will come together to host the event and make it a memorable occasion for the student-athletes and their fans. We look forward to having everyone in Montgomery."
The Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) oversees 15 NAIA institutions, which span six states. The SSAC originally was called the Georgia Alabama Carolina Conference until June 2005. The SSAC is one of the largest NAIA conferences and regularly showcases national champions and highly competitive teams.
"The Southern States Athletic Conference entered into a partnership with the City of Montgomery and the CASC nearly a year ago," said Southern States Athletic Conference Commissioner Kurt Patberg. "This great opportunity to host the national championship is a tremendous extension of this partnership. Special thanks are in order to Carrabba's for their wonderful contribution to this endeavor as the presenting sponsor. I know the NAIA membership can count on these participating constituent groups putting on a great national championship."
There are over 200 NAIA member institutions that sponsor men's soccer and the 2012 event will mark the 54th season. Alabama is no stranger to hosting NAIA Men's Soccer National Championships as Montgomery will become the fifth different city. The last event was played in Orange Beach, Ala., from 2010 – 11. Prior to that, Birmingham (1996 – 98), Mobile (1994 – 95) and Huntsville (1977 – 78) all were host venues.
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) won its ninth national title on Dec. 3 after a 3-2 overtime victory against Hastings (Neb.).