Crossroads League announces soccer changes

The Crossroads League, Huntington University’s athletic conference, has announced a series of major changes to its men’s and women’s league soccer schedules for the upcoming 2020 fall seasons. The changes were implemented in response to the NAIA’s COVID-19 announcement on June 4, to delay the start of the fall seasons and limit the maximum number of contests to be played.

“I am very proud of our leadership team that worked together on this to protect our student-athletes and their experience within the league,” said Crossroads League Commissioner Larry DeSimpelare. “This has been a very challenging year for our student-athletes and we appreciate the creative thoughts and collective efforts of our executive council to put this plan into action.

“We are looking forward to seeing a high level of soccer being played in the Crossroads League this fall.”

The one-year changes were implemented following the NAIA’s decision to allow fall sports to begin practicing on Aug. 15, and begin competition on Sept. 5. Soccer teams will also be limited to 14 regular season matches, down from the normal maximum of 18 contests.

For the 2020 season only, the Crossroads League will split its 10 teams into two divisions based primarily on geography, with each team playing a 13-game league schedule. Teams will play the four opponents within their division in a home-and-away series, while playing a single match against each of the five teams in the opposite division.

The Cross Division will consist of Huntington, Taylor, Marian, Saint Francis and Mount Vernon Nazarene, with the Roads Division including Grace, Goshen, Indiana Wesleyan, Bethel and Spring Arbor.

The Crossroads League Tournament will remain a single-elimination, eight-team bracket, but will consist of the top-four teams from each division.

The 13-game league schedule is set to begin on Sept. 16, with teams playing on Wednesday and Saturday through the start of the league tourney on Nov. 7. The schedule will allow for teams to play one non-league contest from Sept. 5 to 15.