RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande’s national championship men’s soccer team will receive some additional recognition from Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew later this month.
The RedStorm’s players and coaches will be introduced to those in attendance prior to the Crew’s game against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, April 23, at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Rio Grande won the second NAIA national title in school history with a 1-0 overtime triumph over MidAmerican Nazarene University on December 5, 2015 in Delray Beach, Fla.
“It’s a great honor to have the Crew recognize our 2015 national championship,” said Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey, who will also be presented with an award from the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association during the ceremony. “The Crew are true ambassadors of the game and we’re humbled to be offered such a fantastic opportunity.”
The RedStorm finished with a 23-1 record and had a trio of All-America selections, with junior forward Willian Paulino and freshman goal keeper Ben Martinez earning first team honors and sophomore forward Joao Paulo Antonio being named to the second team.
Paulino was named the national Player of the Year – the first such player representing Rio Grande to win the award – and Morrissey was named NAIA Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
“The 2015 men’s soccer team will long be remembered as one of the best teams to ever play at Rio Grande,” said Rio Grande athletic director Jeff Lanham. “The young men work tremendously hard, both on the pitch and in the classroom. It’s a great honor for this team to be recognized for its accomplishments. The Rio family thanks the Crew for their efforts and a job well done.”
A limited number of tickets, priced at $27 apiece, remain and may be purchased by credit card. Tickets that are purchased will be available at the “Will Call” window on game day. All seats are field level – located in the Party Pavilion.
The Rio Grande Alumni Association is sponsoring a tailgate beginning at 3 p.m. in the stadium parking lot where fans and alumni can meet team members and coaches.
The Rio Grande Bookstore will be providing the grill, as well as hot dogs, hamburgers and brats. Those planning on attending are encouraged to bring their own sides and beverages.
For more information, contact Annette Ward, Rio Grande’s Director of Alumni Relations, at 740-245-7431.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.