Soccer earns national exposure


Rio Grande goalkeeper Jon Dodson.

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande men's soccer team will receive some added national exposure this season.

The RedStorm's game against defending national champion Belhaven (Miss.) on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 4:30 p.m. – played at Indiana Wesleyan University – will be featured as Tourbeau's National Men's Soccer Game of the Week Broadcast presented by NSCAA and Admiral Soccer.

Tourbeau Sports Group, the official video production company of the NAIA Men's Soccer National Tournament since 2008, has put together a 12-game broadcast schedule highlighting teams from a dozen NAIA conferences and every program nationally-ranked in the Top 25 national polls or receiving votes from many past NAIA powerhouses. The schedule includes conference season winners, conference titles, national tournament invitees and each of four final teams in the 2012 National Championship.

The initiative, inspired and produced by Tourbeau Sports, is the desire of the company to help develop, market and progress the programs, schools, players and the NAIA through a national online broadcast platform to increase and maximize the quality and standard by these parties.

"It's a great avenue in which to showcase our men's soccer program," Rio Grande athletic director Jeff Lanham said. "We're very happy to be a part of this project and, hopefully, can continue to be involved in the years to come."

The Rio-Belhaven match highlights the four-time Final Four and 2003 National Champion RedStorm from the Mid-South Conference and the 2012 titlist from the Southern States Athletic Conference.

The two programs met in the 2011 Round of 16, with Rio Grande posting a 1-0 overtime win.

The 12-game broadcast schedule gets underway August 22 in Columbia, Kentucky as nine-time NAIA national champion Lindsey Wilson College – Rio's chief Mid-South Conference rival – hosts 2012 Crossroads League champion Spring Arbor University and continues through the weekend of November 2.

The national broadcast productions will include a full on-site professional staff at each venue, including multiple camera angles, multiple commentators and producers. A staff of editors also will be available off location to produce highlights and full game footage to local TV stations to colleges, as well as a possibility to provide programming for national tape-delayed broadcasts to national soccer television channels, in which TSG is currently working to promote.

As a result of its association with the NAIA, TSG has been the go-to resource for identifying talent and highlights for its players.

TSG also has established the Tourbeau Pro Soccer Combine, which allows a select group of NAIA top players to attend the combine showcase to show off their talent in front of professional teams and scouts in a week-long environment. In its first two years, the event has been attended by over 130-plus players, with 33 current players signing a professional or professional-development contract as a result of the service.