DENVER—The Western Athletic Conference announced today that an invitation for affiliate membership has been issued to and accepted by the University of the Incarnate Word to join the conference in men's soccer starting with the 2014-15 academic year.
“We are pleased to announce the addition of UIW to our men's soccer league,” said WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd. “Its location in the WAC's footprint and desire to compete at the NCAA’s top level makes it a great fit to the conference.”
UIW, located in San Antonio, Texas, is in its first year of transitioning from NCAA Division II to Division I. The Cardinals advanced to the Division II quarterfinals last year, their eighth appearance in the NCAA tournament since the 2002 season. In its first year of the transition, UIW finished with a 6-8-1 mark in 2013. The team played its first match in school history in 1986 and won its 400th on Nov. 15, 2012.
"Finalizing this agreement places our men’s program in a nationally recognized conference where they can continue to compete at the highest level possible," said UIW Director of Athletics Mark Papich. "Looking at the initial draft of the 2014 schedule, we add five high-caliber events to Benson Stadium in men’s soccer. Our affiliate membership with the Western Athletic Conference is the last piece of the puzzle in our transition to NCAA Division I."
UIW is coached by Vince Martinez who became the head coach in 2011 after three seasons as an assistant with the Cardinals. In his first two years, he led the team to the NCAA Division II playoffs and a conference title. He has a record of 35-15-5 in his first three seasons.
"It’s great to be in a conference of well-known teams that we can begin creating rivalries," said UIW head coach Vince Martinez. "We are looking forward to new challenges and wonderful competition."
The addition will give the WAC a total of 10 teams for men's soccer as UIW will join Air Force, Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, Houston Baptist, Kansas City, UNLV, San Jose State, Seattle U and Utah Valley in 2014.