When people talk about sports dynasties today they mention the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers among many others. They consider winning championships and domination as part of being a dynasty. There’s a collegiate soccer program in central Pa that has found itself as one of the best sports dynasties as well.
Messiah College located in Grantham, Pa is a member of Middle Atlantic States and Commonwealth conferences and competes in NCAA Division III. Its soccer program, both men and women, have found success on the pitch. Overall the soccer program as a whole has won 14 Division III National Championships. If you break it down, Messiah Men’s Soccer has won nine titles, while Messiah Women’s Soccer has won five championships in school history.
Winning 14 National Championships itself would not make Messiah a dynasty, however, all 14 of those titles have all been won since 2000. Interestingly enough the men and women have won championships in the same year four times (2005, 2008, 2009, and 2012). No other college in Division I, II, or III has even won dual titles in the same sport once. In that span, the Falcon women have also won 12 conference titles in 13 appearances, while the men have won 11 conference titles in 13 appearances.
After the 2008 season and winning his sixth title in a nine year span, coach Dave Brandt took the head coach position at Navy. In twelve years at Messiah, Brandt had a record of 247-25-14 and led his teams to six National Championships.
After his departure, it seemed as if it would take a few years for Messiah to make it back to the National Championship game. However Coach Brad McCarty has led his team to three titles in a four year span. The only year Messiah hasn’t won under McCarty was during the 2011 season.
Since taking over in 2000, Coach Scott Frey has led every one of his teams to the NCAA tournament. Currently Messiah is on a streak of nine straight Final Four appearances and six straight National Championship appearances. Messiah has won four of those six, while also winning their first title in 2005. Their other titles came in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. The seniors on the 2012 squad have only lost twice and Coach Frey has compiled a career record of 276-14-13 at Messiah.
Messiah is also the most decorated team on both the men and women’s sides. The women’s five titles are tied with UC San Diego. The closest men’s soccer program to Messiah’s nine titles is UNC-Greensboro with five titles.
Just because Messiah is a Division III program is not a good enough excuse why they should not be considered one of the best sports dynasties. The validity of Messiah winning should also not be less because they are a Division III. There is great competition from other schools in Division III. Many of the players on both the men and women’s teams fielded offers from Division I schools, but chose to play for Messiah for many different reasons. Many players have gone on to win Player of the Year while at Messiah as well. Most recently, senior Alex Brandt and sophomore Jeremy Payne both took home the honor this past season.
Messiah has become a dynasty because of their perennial appearances in the Final Four and National Championship games. They have also grabbed attention nationally for their success, and look for Messiah to keep fielding successful teams in the future.