The Central Methodist, Missouri Valley, and Columbia College mens’ and womens’ soccer teams will begin the 2021 season nationally ranked. Both NAIA coaches’ polls were released today. On the men’s side, the defending national champion Missouri Valley Vikings will begin the 2021 season ranked first. The team Missouri Valley beat in the national semi-finals last season, Central Methodist, is ranked third in the preseason rankings. Columbia College checks in right behind at number four. The Cougars fell in the quarterfinals to Oklahoma Wesleyan last season.
In the women’s poll, Central Methodist will begin the season ranked seventh nationally, while Missouri Valley comes in 21st in the poll. The Heart of America Athletic Conference rivals both made the NAIA National Tournament last season with Missouri Valley losing in the second round and Central Methodist bowing out in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Columbia College is ranked in between them as they will start the season ranked twelfth in the nation. Columbia compiled a 15-3-1 record last season which included a second round loss in the NAIA National Tournament.