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Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, “Bringing college soccer to the masses: Live games on TV and international soccer at Davidson College”

Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, “Bringing college soccer to the masses: Live games on TV and international soccer at Davidson College”


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Jonathan Swann was a psychology major at Davidson, graduating in the class of 2019. At Davidson, he wrote for the Davidsonian, was a member of the Student Government Association, and was involved in College Democrats. Originally from Maryland, he currently lives in Central Florida working at a boarding school. 

This is the fourth and final post, and it focuses on college soccer, television and resulting opportunities.

In this fourth part of the four-part series telling a different aspect of the untold story when NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship was at Davidson College, I’ll be sharing several anecdotes and stories focused on the first live college soccer championship and additional high-level soccer matches at Davidson.

In 1993, because of the success of the 1992 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson College, fans for the first time watched the semifinal and championship games in their entirety on live TV![1] The NCAA, CBS, and Davidson came up with a plan to televise the game.[2] CBS owned the rights to the championship as part of its billion-dollar men’s basketball contract with the NCAA but showed the game as edited highlights weeks after the event.[3] CBS did not air the soccer championship live because of the conflict with National Football League games.[4]

Figure 1. Picture from the 1993 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Program

Terry Holland, Davidson’s Athletic Director, served as a coordinator between all parties to negotiate for the rights to show the championship[5]. The games were broadcast nationally by Prime Network affiliates after Davidson purchased the rights to show the soccer championship live with a reach of 42 million homes.[6] The move to broadcast the games live was a significant step for college soccer and contributed to the sport’s rising popularity in the 1990s.[7]

Figure 2. Flyer for the 1994 championship

In addition, Davidson hosted College Soccer Weekly, a competition between top college soccer teams![8] College Soccer Weekly started in the fall of 1994 because of the success of the championship at Davidson.[9] College Soccer Weekly was a 10-game, made for TV series with each game featuring a southeastern team versus a nationally ranked team from another area.[10] Each game was televised locally and nationally.[11] At that time, college soccer was a rare occurrence on national television, and hosting a primetime match at weekly at Davidson further boosted the visibility of soccer.[12]

Figure 3. Terry Holland (left) with Davidson Men’s Soccer Head Coach Charlie Slagle (right)

Despite the championship leaving Davidson, Davidson would host many other nationally televised games in the 1990s![13] Davidson hosted the US men’s national soccer team in April 1994, when the U.S. beat Moldova.[14]  The women’s national team beat Finland in April 1995 and the women’s team returned to Davidson in March 1996 for a 2-0 win against Germany.[15] The U-23 men’s national team faced Ireland in June 1996 at Davidson (unfortunately losing 0-1). [16] Overall, Davidson played host to many top soccer games in the 1990s, none of which would be possible without the unprecedented success of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson!


[1] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.; Brad Johnson, “Davidson Gets High Marks as Host,” Charlotte Observer, December 5, 1992.

[2] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[3] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[4] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[5] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[6] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[7] “Final 4’s Popularity on the Rise.” By Jon DeNunzio. December 8, 1995. Washington Post.

[8] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018. Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[9] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018.

[10] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018.

[11] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994

[12] Jerry Langdon, “Prime’s TV Games to Move around in ’95,” USA Today, November 1, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018.

[13] “USMNT Results: 1990-1994.” Society for American Soccer History, February 1, 2020. https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/usnt-results/usmnt-results/usmnt-results-1990-1994/. Brad Johnson, “Hamm Stands as One of the World’s Brightest Players,” Charlotte Observer, April 29, 1995. Brad Johnson, “Davidson to Play Host to U.S. U-23 Soccer Team ,” Charlotte Observer, April 25, 1996.

[14] “USMNT Results: 1990-1994.” Society for American Soccer History, February 1, 2020. https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/usnt-results/usmnt-results/usmnt-results-1990-1994/. Brad Johnson, “Hamm Stands as One of the World’s Brightest Players,” Charlotte Observer, April 29, 1995.

[15] USMNT Results: 1990-1994.” Society for American Soccer History, February 1, 2020. https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/usnt-results/usmnt-results/usmnt-results-1990-1994/. Brad Johnson, “Hamm Stands as One of the World’s Brightest Players,” Charlotte Observer, April 29, 1995.

[16] Brad Johnson, “Davidson to Play Host to U.S. U-23 Soccer Team ,” Charlotte Observer, April 25, 1996.

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