Dan Stratford will officially begin his first season at the helm of the defending MAC Tournament champion WVU men’s soccer in February when his squad embarks on its newly-unveiled schedule.
The slate, which was released by WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons on Wednesday, will begin after the postponement of the fall season due to COVID-19. It consists of 13 games, including six matches in the Mid-American Conference.
“It’s been a very long wait, but we are all excited to challenge ourselves against a good slate of opponents, both in and out of conference,” Stratford said. “I look forward to seeing the hard work and discipline that this team demonstrated in the fall be rewarded this spring. We will finally get to see our roster compete for the first time since my arrival. We are really looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
The Mountaineers are on a quest to defend their title in the 2019 MAC Tournament. WVU finished the regular season with a 10-9-2 overall record, but struggled with a winless conference schedule at 0-4-1. They went on to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament and took a 5-1 win on the road against Butler.
The 2021 campaign gets started with a non-conference match-up at Coastal Carolina on Feb. 20, then they’ll stay in the Tar Heel State for a clash with Charlotte on Feb. 26.
On March 6, Stratford will patrol the sidelines at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium for the first time when his squad hosts Northern Illinois in a conference clash, before traveling to Western Michigan on March 14. Bowling Green heads to Morgantown a few days later to face WVU on March 17. This stretch of conference games closes out on March 21 at SIU-Edwardsville.
The Mountaineers take a break from MAC play when they host Marshall on March 24.
They’re back on the road on March 28 to resume the conference schedule at Bowling Green, before hosting a pair of home games against Akron and Western Michigan on March 31 and April 4. They’ll then hit the road to once again face the Zips on April 7, then a trip to Northern Illinois four days later.
Senior Day is set for April 18 at noon against SIU-Edwardsville.
The start of this season will also mark the beginning of the Stratford era at WVU men’s soccer, as the highly-anticipated new hire will make his debut after a strong stint at the University of Charleston. He racked up a total record of 61-4-5 and two Division II National Championships in 2017 and 2019.