Once every two years, in order to keep up with the changing school enrollments, the PIAA reclassifies schools in order of student populations.
Since 2016, both boys and girls high school soccer in Pennsylvania have been broken up into four classifications.
On Monday night, the latest realigned sections in WPIAL boys and girls soccer wre revealed. The trend in Western Pennsylvania continues to see a very slight drop from top, as the majority of schools hovering in the middle two classifications.
Below is a closer look at each classification heading into the next two-year cycle (Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 seasons).
Class 4A (21 teams)
Defending champion: Canon-McMillan
SECTION 1: Butler, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler
SECTION 2: Baldwin, Bethel Park, Brashear, Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Twp, Upper St. Clair
SECTION 3: Allderdice, Central Catholic, Connellsville, Hempfield, Latrobe, Norwin, Penn-Trafford
Not much changes at the top, with the exception of the departures of Plum (Section 3 champions a year ago), Penn Hills and Woodland Hills. Central Catholic and Allderdice move from being in that brutal Section 1, over to Section 3 where they might have a bit more travel from the City of Pittsburgh to compete against Westmoreland County-based schools.
Class 3A (31 teams)
Defending champion: Franklin Regional
SECTION 1: Armstrong, Freeport ^, Hampton, Highlands, Indiana, Knoch, Mars
SECTION 2: Beaver Area, Blackhawk, Central Valley ^, Chartiers Valley, Montour, Moon, South Fayette, West Allegheny
SECTION 3: Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Greensburg Salem, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity, Uniontown
SECTION 4: Franklin Regional, Gateway, Obama Academy, Kiski, Penn Hills, Plum, West Mifflin, Woodland Hills,
Both Freeport and Central Valley move upward into the largest classification, which should make things even more crowded in a 31-team field that will be vying for 16 playoff spots. Plum moves down, but it won’t be easy. Now they’re in the same section with neighboring rival Franklin Regional, who were the WPIAL champs for the second consecutive season, and fell short in its quest to win a PIAA crown in the State Semifinals. Finally, it also appears that the Parkway West schools (Char Valley, Montour, Moon, South Fayette and West Allegheny have been reunited in one section. Of the four, only Moon has not captured a recent WPIAL title.
Class 2A (29 teams)
Defending champion: Quaker Valley
SECTION 1: Avonworth ^, East Allegheny, Elizabeth Forward, Keystone Oaks, South Allegheny, South Park, Steel Valley
SECTION 2: Burrell, Deer Lakes, Derry, Leechberg (C) , Ligonier Valley, Shady Side Academy, Valley
SECTION 3: Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, Waynesburg, Yough
SECTION 4: Ambridge, Elwood City, Freedom, Hopewell, Mohawk, New Brighton, North Catholic, Quaker Valley
One glaring omission from yesterday’s PIAA reclassification post, was Avonworth’s move-up to Class 2A. Just Class 1A champions a year ago, Avonworth will now be put in what’s an already competitive section with the likes of South Park, Keystone Oaks, Steel Valley, etc. Shady Side Academy and Deer Lakes will once again continue as section rivals — and Quaker Valley — the reigning WPIAL/PIAA champions — will have some additional competition with nearby Ambridge joining its section. Leechberg continues as a co-op with Apollo-Ridge, in Section 2, as they did during its debut season in 2019.
Class 1A (28 teams)
Defending champion: Greensburg Central Catholic
SECTION 1: Beaver County Christian, Neshannock, Our Lady of Sacred Heart, Quigley, Riverside, Sewickley Academy, South Side Beaver
SECTION 2: Geibel Catholic, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Serra, St. Joseph, Trinity Christian, Winchester Thurston
SECTION 3: Aquinas Academy, Bishop Canevin, Carlynton, Eden Christian, Riverview, Springdale, Vincentian
SECTION 4: Bentworth, Beth-Center, Brentwood, California, Chartiers-Houston, Monessen, Seton-LaSalle
With Avonworth moving up, leaves everyone else remaining from the previous cycle in Class 1A. This has been a classification that was once dominated by just a few schools. However, since Seton-LaSalle’s back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, in recent years there’s been a lot of parity in Class 1A, with six different WPIAL champions in the past six years.