BREAKING: The Ohio Valley Conference announces addition of men’s soccer


Rob Le Cates

Number 20, Casey Welage (right), a freshman forward slide kicks the ball away from Western Illinois University players Xavier Brown (19), graduate midfielder and forward, and Oscar Olingdahl (15), a freshman midfielder, during the men’s soccer game at Lakeside Field Saturday morning. Wellage had 1 assist. The Panthers tied 1-1 against the Leathernecks.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Ohio Valley Conference announced the addition of men’s soccer as the 19th-sponsored sport Tuesday morning. 

The OVC will include the following teams: 

Eastern Illinois 



Southern Indiana 

Chicago State, Houston Christian, Incarnate Word and Liberty have accepted an invitation to join the OVC as affiliate members, bringing the total number of teams to eight.  

In a statement announcing the addition, OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche said “It is exciting to be able to start a sport from scratch. This move helps us invest in our future and makes us stronger from a membership standpoint, as well as addresses needs in the men’s soccer community.” 

The first year of competition will begin in the fall of 2023. 

The Panthers have played in the Summit League and under first year head coach Josh Oakley, the Panthers posted a 1-12-3 overall record and a 0-7-1 conference record. 

The Summit League included the following teams: 

Oral Roberts 



Kansas City 

Western Illinois 

St. Thomas 

Southern Indiana 


Eastern Illinois  

In the last five seasons, the Panthers have been at the bottom of the Summit League and have missed the Summit League playoffs completely or have been knocked out in the first round.  


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]