New schools change face of Big East soccer

Some things never change. The St. John’s men’s soccer team is ranked in the top ten in the nation and the women’s team is once again struggling with injuries. But, expect a difference this season – the Big East.

The conference will welcome five new teams from Conference USA this year. They include Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida.

The now 16 team conference makes the Big East the largest Division I men’s and women’s soccer conference in the nation.

USF highlights the men’s teams added. The Bulls finished with a 10-5-2 (5-3-1) overall record last season and feature forward Rodrigo Hidalgo, the C-USA Co-Freshmen of the Year. On the women’s side expect for Louisville, DePaul, and Marquette to field more than competitive teams.

The men’s teams will be split into the Red and Blue divisions while the women’s teams will be divided into Divisions A and B. The Red Storm, who was picked to win the Red division, will be joined by Rutgers, South Florida, Villanova, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Louisville and DePaul. Notre Dame was selected to win the Blue division.

The women’s Division A will be made up of St, John’s, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Marquette, USF, Connecticut, Providence and Syracuse.

With the new division format each team will play an 11 game conference schedule with seven games against division opponents and four outside their division. Come playoff time, 12 of the 16 men’s teams will compete in the conference tournament.

The top six teams ranked my conference point totals will make it and the top two teams in each division with get a first round by. Only 10 of 16 women’s teams will go to the Big East tournament with the top thee teams in each division receiving a bye.