The top-ranked team in NAIA has a Philadelphia Union Academy connection in sophomore forward Spencer Reinford.
Reinford was a reserve forward for the Academy's U18 team in its first season in U.S. Development Academy play in 2013-14, scoring 3 goals in 20 games and 3 starts.
The 6-foot-4 target forward from Juniata County, Pa., has played a reserve role for the 18-1 RedStorm this season after redshirting his freshman season. He has 5 goals and 3 assists in 19 games and 4 starts this season.
The University of Rio Grande (pronounced Rye-o Grand) is located in southeastern Ohio near the West Virginia border about 90 minutes south of Columbus. The men's soccer program won the NAIA national championship in 2003 and were the national runners-up in 2008.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has the bulk of its member schools in the Midwest - the closest NAIA school is in Maryland and there are a couple schools in Pittsburgh. Union 2015 draft pick Dzenan Catic played for NAIA school Davenport University (the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament) for two seasons.
Rio Grande begin their quest for a national title as the No. 1 overall seed in the NAIA tournament on Saturday at noon, hosting Bethel (Tenn.) University. A win could set up a rematch with the only team that beat them this season, Union (Ky.).
The second round will be held November 30, followed by the quarterfinals on December 2, the semifinals and the NAIA National Championship semifinals and final in Delray Beach, Florida December 4 and 5.