Women’s Soccer National Championship Awarded to Orange Beach
14 Dec, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has awarded the 2012 and 2013 Women’s Soccer National Championships to Orange Beach, Ala. The 29th and 30th annual events will take place at the Orange Beach Sportsplex and will be co-hosted by the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission and the University of Mobile. The 2012 National Championship is scheduled for Nov. 26 – Dec. 1, with the 2013 tournament taking place Dec. 2 – 7.
“The NAIA is very excited to continue its partnership with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission as hosts of the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship,” Eric Olson, NAIA Director of Championships said. “We look forward to many more wonderful experiences and the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach community needs to be commended on their teamwork and efforts. They will organize a terrific Championship for all student-athletes, coaches and fans.”
For the past two seasons, the Orange Beach Sportsplex was home to the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship. The 1,500 spectator venue opened in 2001 with renovated locker rooms and a pair of soccer fields. The Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission has engineered numerous sporting events and sells Alabama’s Gulf Coast as one of the premier destinations.
“We are thrilled to welcome the NAIA Women’s National Soccer Championship,” Beth Gendler, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission Vice President of Sales said. “The Orange Beach Sportsplex has hosted the Men’s National Championship for the last two years and it is very exciting to be named the host city with the NAIA once again.”
In addition to hosting the NAIA Men’s and Women’s Soccer National Championships, the Sportsplex has welcomed the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Women’s Soccer Championship for eight-consecutive years, along with various levels of the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) World Series.
“This is a very prestigious honor for our Sports Commission and the teams work so hard all season to make it into the championship,” Gendler said. “We are excited to welcome the women’s championship for the next two years and show them the great southern hospitality everyone comes to enjoy while here in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach. We hope this is a long term relationship with NAIA and that we have the opportunity to host these events for many years to come.”
There are over 200 NAIA member institutions that sponsor women’s soccer. The NAIA conducted its first women’s soccer National Championship in 1984 and has been contested in Alabama twice before. For the past three seasons, the event was held in Decatur, Ala., with Lee (Tenn.) winning all three titles. With their most recent title, the Lady Flames became the first program in NAIA women’s soccer history to win four-straight national championships. Mobile, Ala., also hosted the tournament in 1998.
About the NAIA: The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the governing body for athletics programs at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. The long-held mission is to advance character-driven intercollegiate athletics while promoting the education and development of well-rounded students and productive citizens through sport participation. The association offers equitable access and opportunities to more than 60,000 student-athletes for the chance to compete in its 23 national championship events held annually throughout the country.
Today, the NAIA strengthens its commitment to student-athletes and strives to enrich their college experience by supporting academic achievement and character development. NAIA Champions of Character is the association’s innovative flagship program designed to instill character values in student-athletes, coaches and youth in the communities it serves. To learn more visit www.NAIA.org.