Herd men’s soccer breaks Top 25 rankings, first time since 2001


Sydney Shelton

Carlos Diaz- Salcedo passes the ball to teammate Illal Osmanu; goalkeeper Paulo Pita is in the background.

It has been 18 years since the Marshall University men’s soccer team has been nationally ranked in the NCAA and United Soccer Coaches Poll. The poll, released Tuesday afternoon, placed the Herd at No. 21 with an overall record of 8-1-2 (3-0-1 Conference USA). This rank marks the highest in program history.

The last time the Herd was voted into the Top 25 was Oct. 4, 2001. At that time, Marshall was ranked No. 23. 

Following its last match against previous No. 5 Charlotte, Marshall ended up tying 0-0 against the 49ers and taking a point. The 49ers dropped to No. 10. 

“It’s nice to be ranked; it was an expectation of mine that we would get to that level,” Marshall men’s soccer Head Coach Chris Grassie said per HerdZone. “We are well-supported. We have the resources and the support and the logistical things in place. It’s about getting the right players and, I think, maybe we’re a year ahead.”

There are three other Conference USA teams that are ranked in the Top 25. Charlotte is No. 10, Florida International is No. 12 and Kentucky comes in at No. 20.

Grassie said that he feels the team is on the right path to stay ranked and make it to the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re only halfway through the season,” Grassie said per HerdZone. “If we finish the season ranked and in the NCAA tournament for the first time, then that’s when we can get excited. I feel like we’re on the track to do that and this ranking is a real sign of that.”

Depending on its outcome against Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, California on Tuesday night, the Herd will continue to be challenged to uphold its Top 25 ranking with four upcoming away matches at San Diego State, Wright State, Florida Atlantic and Oakland. Marshall will then return home for its last C-USA home match against No. 20 Kentucky before making one final trip to No. 12 Florida International to cap off the regular season.

“We need to keep the ship steady and keep doing what we’re doing,” Grassie said per HerdZone.

The ultimate goal under Grassie is for the Marshall men’s soccer team to win a national title.“We wanted to teach the guys that you can strive for things in life, but it takes dedication and discipline and focus,” Grassie said. “They have the talent coming in, and all of those things combine together to create the culture that we want. It has to be based on every year we’re going to try and win a national championship. It’s not easy, but that’s what we’re trying to do.” 

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].