Dan Stratford’s West Virginia men’s soccer team’s historic start to this season has officially reached new heights.
The Mountaineers (5-0-1) are ranked Number 2 in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll, the official Top 25 poll of record in the sport. It marks the highest the program has ever been ranked in the poll, beating the previous high of No. 3 in 2021.
That No. 2 ranking from the coaches matches the No. 2 national ranking from Top Drawer Soccer, which is now tied for the highest placement in either poll in program history.
West Virginia is first in the nation in RPI, just ahead of in-state and Sun Belt Conference foe Marshall. The Thundering Herd are ranked No. 1 in the country in the latest coaches poll. UCF, which WVU played to a 2-2 draw in Orlando last week, is third in RPI. Portland, which the Mountaineers defeated on Sept. 9 courtesy of a last-second goal by Marcus Caldeira, sits fourth in the metric.
Caldeira, with seven goals through the opening six matches of the year, is tied for second among the nation’s top goal-scorers. He has also already logged three game-winning scores this season.
With Stratford’s team re-setting the program’s mark for best placement in the Top 25 polls, it also marks the first time either WVU soccer team was featured in the top two since August 2017. Nikki Izzo-Brown’s women’s soccer team was the No. 1 club in the land for five consecutive weeks at the end of the regular season. That year, Izzo-Brown and co. finished as the national runner-up.
No WVU team from the four major sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer) has been ranked among the two best teams in the country since the Jan. 8, 2018, AP men’s basketball Top 25 poll that featured Jevon Carter and the second-ranked Mountaineers. Coincidentally, the WVU rifle team earned the No. 1 spot in the CRCA preseason rankings on Tuesday.
This year’s WVU men’s soccer team is the fourth group in program history to be undefeated through the opening six matches of the season. West Virginia teams in 1968 (8-1-1), 2006 (6-0-2), and 2021 (6-0-4) also accomplished the feat, with the ’21 Mountaineers making it 10 matches into the season before suffering its first loss.
West Virginia gets its first crack at defending its latest national ranking tonight, at home, against visiting Dayton (2-4-1). The match begins at 7 p.m. ET, and will be streamed on ESPN+.