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Changes abound in #WPIAL boys soccer realignment for 2018-19

When PIAA and WPIAL soccer realigned to expand to four classifications beginning in 2016, it provided a radical shift from three to four classifications.

That change provided more teams with opportunities to play for WPIAL championships each Fall, and as a result, in the past two seasons, we’ve seen five schools win district titles for the first time at Highmark Stadium, including four new WPIAL champions in 2017 alone.


The PIAA has completed its bi-annual process of realigning both boys and girls schools based on enrollment numbers by gender, there are a number of tweaks and changes.

For 2018-2019, here is a section-by-section look at both WPIAL boys soccer  classifications along with some of my thoughts and comments:


The biggest changes are coming in 4A this year — where they’ll be going from four sections to three big ones. It looks more like football conferences now but they’re structured somewhat geographically friendly with North, South and East based sections (unless your Plum or Woody High — and you have to play most of your away section games in Westmoreland County.)

If they follow the same format as Girls 2A did the past few years (with only three sections), then they’ll have 12 teams advance to the playoffs, with the top four in each section. WPIAL playoff pedigree, experience and titles won lean very heavily toward sections 1 and 2 here, so it’s likely that some very good teams in those sections could potentially miss the playoffs altogether in the coming years.

Section 1

  • Butler
  • Central Catholic
  • Fox Chapel
  • North Allegheny
  • Pine-Richland
  • Seneca Valley
  • Shaler
  • Taylor Allderdice

Section 2

  • Brashear
  • Bethel Park
  • Baldwin
  • Canon-McMillan
  • Mt. Lebanon
  • Upper Saint Clair
  • Peters Township

Section 3

  • Connellsville
  • Hempfield
  • Latrobe
  • Norwin
  • Penn -Trafford
  • Penn Hills
  • Plum
  • Woodland Hills



In a classification that was dominated by teams in the Western suburbs in recent years (Montour 2017, Chartiers Valley 2016, South Fayette 2015) — there’s some movement with three schools dropping down from 4A (North Hills, Kiski Area and Franklin Regional) and one coming up from 2A (Beaver) for a packed 29-team classification.
Section 1

  • Armstrong
  • Hampton
  • Highlands
  • Indiana
  • Kiski Area
  • Knoch
  • Mars
  • North Hills

Section 2

  • Ambridge
  • Beaver
  • Blackhawk
  • Hopewell
  • Montour
  • Moon
  • West Allegheny

Section 3

  • Albert Galitan
  • Belle Vernon
  • Greensburg Salem
  • Laurel Highlands
  • Ringgold
  • Trinity
  • Uniontown

Section 4

  • Chartiers Valley
  • Franklin Regional
  • Gateway
  • McKeesport
  • South Fayette
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • West Mifflin


With 28 teams total, 2A boys now features two teams that won WPIAL titles a year ago (Shady Side Academy and North Catholic who along with Beth Center have moved up from 1A), and another team that won the PIAA (Quaker Valley) — and all featured outstanding underclassmen on those teams. This should be a fun WPIAL playoffs — and can very likely provide a strong PIAA contender once again.
Section 1

  • East Allegheny
  • Elizabeth Forward
  • Keystone Oaks
  • McGuffey
  • South Allegheny
  • South Park
  • Steel Valley

Section 2

  • Burrell
  • Deer Lakes
  • Derry
  • Freeport
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Shady Side Academy
  • Valley

Section 3

  • Beth Center
  • Brownsville
  • Charleroi
  • Southmoreland
  • Washington
  • Waynesburg
  • Yough

Section 4

  • Central Valley
  • Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic
  • New Brighton
  • Obama Acadmy
  • Quaker Valley
  • Riverside
  • South Side Beaver



Defending 1A champs Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s ascension into 2A was no surprise as the school, based in Butler County, in the midst of soccer hotbed areas in the Northern suburbs — they were bound to see increase in enrollment and up to the next level. That leaves the likelihood of the return of Seton-LaSalle and Sewickley Academy who have mostly ruled this classification as long as it’s existed — with some potential sleepers as many programs have improved over the past few years.
Section 1

  • Beaver County Christian
  • Freedom
  • Mohawk
  • Neshannock
  • Our Lady of Sacred Heart
  • Quigley Catholic
  • Sewickley Academy

Section 2

  • Geibel
  • Greensburg Central Catholic
  • Jeannette
  • Serra Catholic
  • St. Joseph
  • Trinity Chrstian
  • Winchester Thurston

Section 3

  • Aquinas Academy
  • Avonworth
  • Carlynton
  • Eden Christian
  • Riverview
  • Springdale
  • Vincentian

Section 4

  • Bentworth
  • Brentwood
  • Bishop Canevin
  • California
  • Chartiers-Houston
  • Monessen
  • Seton-LaSalle

I”ll be posting the girls classifications, which have similar changes (4A has shifted to 3 sections as well) — most likely tomorrow.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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