Palm Beach County to Host Two National Soccer Events
4 Dec, 2014
Palm Beach County will represent the pinnacle of collegiate soccer this December when it becomes the first destination to host two college soccer national championships simultaneously. Palm Beach County will be home to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Women’s Soccer National Championships and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Men’s Soccer National Championships during the first week of December. Thousands of soccer enthusiasts will travel to Palm Beach County to experience the pursuit of a national title. National Champions will be decided for both men and women teams in both the NCAA and the NAIA, creating a historic occasion for Palm Beach County.
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission have been selected to host the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer National Championship, known as the Women’s College Cup. The National Championship, scheduled for December 5-7, 2014, will take place at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton.
The Women’s College Cup includes the semifinal games and national championship game, culminating a tournament that featured 64 teams. The NCAA Women’s Championship Tournament (field of 64) preliminary round competition occurs on the campuses of participating institutions with winner of each single elimination round advancing to the next round. The winners of the quarterfinal contests will advance to the Women’s College Cup in Palm Beach County. The final four teams will compete on Friday, December 5th. The winners of this semi-final matchup will advance to the National Championship game on Sunday, December 7th.
The 2014 Women’s College Cup will mark the first time that an NCAA Division I National Champion will be crowned in Palm Beach County! The event also represents the first time that Florida has been home to the Women’s College Cup since 1983, when Central Florida University was the host.
The Women’s College Cup is a celebration of soccer. In addition to hosting the “Final Four” of women’s collegiate soccer, Palm Beach County will be home to the NCAA Fan Fest, which provides an interactive experience for visitors to celebrate the National Championship. Between 10,000 and 15,000 soccer fans are expected to cheer for the Final Four of women’s soccer at FAU Stadium on December 7th.
FAU Stadium is one of the premier sports venues in Palm Beach County. This venue opened in 2011 and has a seating capacity of 30,000. In addition to the Women’s College Cup, FAU Stadium was recently hosted an international soccer match featuring the United States Men’s National Team and will be home to the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl on December 23rd, 2014, a nationally televised college football bowl game created by ESPN.
“On behalf of Florida Atlantic University, we are honored to serve as hosts for the 2014 NCAA Women’s College Cup,” said Pat Chun, FAU’s director of athletics. “We thank the Palm Beach County Sports Commission on being great partners. The country is well aware of the great sports destination we have become. This will be yet another opportunity to showcase our wonderful campus and beautiful community.”
"We are excited to be named the host of the 2014 Women's College Cup,” said Patrick Baker, FAU’s head women’s soccer coach. “A lot of people were involved and put a wonderful proposal together. We now have the opportunity to showcase the biggest event in women's college soccer on our campus. There are a number of great things happening within the FAU Athletic Department and this is a special event for the program, department, University and local community."
The community benefits will be widespread. Thousands of alumni, students, and soccer enthusiasts will travel to Palm Beach County and Florida Atlantic University to experience the Women’s College Cup. The event will be televised live on ESPNU, showcasing Palm Beach County and Florida Atlantic University to a national audience.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Men’s Soccer National Championships will be hosted by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission in conjunction with Northwood University. The sixteen-team championship will be played at Hilltopper Stadium and the adjoining Seacrest Soccer Complex in Delray Beach on December 1-6, 2014.
“We are thrilled to have our Men’s Soccer National Championship return to Florida,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “We are confident that the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Northwood University will go the extra mile in making the National Championship an outstanding experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans.” The state of Florida has welcomed the men’s soccer national championship on five prior occasions, most recently in 2005 and 2006 in Daytona Beach.
Hilltopper Stadium and the Seacrest Soccer Complex in Delray Beach have hosted numerous athletic events in a variety of sports including: soccer, lacrosse, and flag and tackle football. The complex has also served as the venue for major collegiate sporting events—most recently in March of 2012, when Hilltopper Stadium hosted an NCAA women’s lacrosse showdown between perennial contenders Yale and Notre Dame.
The 59th Annual NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championships will feature the top 16 teams in the NAIA competing in 15 games. In order to make the tournament, 32 teams participated in qualifying (opening round) games held on campus at participating schools. These 32 teams were comprised of 24 automatic qualifiers awarded to conference/independent and regular-season champions, and eight at-large teams selected by the NAIA Men’s Soccer Modified Ratings Percentage Index. The 16 winning teams in the qualifiers advance to Palm Beach County as the Championship host site.
The opening rounds will take place on December 1-3 and the semifinal games will take place on December 5th. The NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship game will take place on December 6th at 3pm. The NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championships will provide a significant tourism impact to Palm Beach County. The 16 teams will bring over 350 soccer players along with students, alumni, and soccer fans from across the nation. The tourism impact will be felt countywide. “This is a great opportunity for Northwood University to add additional value to the Palm Beach County community, as the games will bring tourism dollars to the area, and our student-athletes will be conducting a Champions of Character event that will involve mentoring local students regarding the NAIA’s Five Core values of Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership,” said Nick Davidson, Northwood University’s Director of Athletics.
Two national champions in soccer will be crowned in Palm Beach County with the NAIA men’s soccer champion being revealed on December 6th and the NCAA women’s soccer champion being revealed on December 7th. This will be a momentous occasion for the Palm Beach County sports landscape. “Very few communities have the privilege of hosting a collegiate national championship. We are excited and honored that Palm Beach County will be home to the NCAA Women’s Soccer National Championship while hosting the NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. Hosting two of the most prestigious collegiate soccer events in the United States will transform Palm Beach County into a hotbed for soccer.
In addition to witnessing the nation’s best men and women college soccer teams, Palm Beach County will receive enormous economic benefits. Thousands of soccer participants, including athletes, coaches, media, students, alumni, and fans will make Palm Beach County their home in December. The influx of visitors will provide a significant boost to the local economy by filling hotels rooms and generating new revenues for restaurants, attractions, and the local business community.
NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Schedule:
Monday, December 1: Opening Round Games at 11am, 1:30pm, 4pm & 6:30pm
Tuesday, December 2: Second Round Games at 11am, 1:30pm, 4pm & 6:30pm
Wednesday, December 3: Quarterfinal Games at 11am, 1:30pm, 4pm & 6:30pm
Wednesday, December 3: Champions of Character events for athletes
Friday, December 5: Semifinal Games at Noon and 2:30pm
Saturday, December 6: NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship game at 3pm
NCAA Women’s College Cup Schedule:
Friday, December 5: Fan Fest starts at 11am
Semifinal Game 1 at 5pm and Semifinal Game 2 at 7:30pm
Sunday, December 7: Fan Fest starts at 11am