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UCSB 2016 Home Soccer Schedule Features Pac-12 Foes UCLA, Cal

Looking to follow up on a productive 2015 season that saw the UCSB men's soccer team win its third straight Big West North title and reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, head coach Tim Vom Steeg on Thursday revealed a challenging 2016 schedule that features marquee opponents both on the road and at Harder Stadium.

"As most people who follow our program know, we have extremely high expectations for the 2016 season," said Vom Steeg. "These expectations are reflected in the type of schedule that we have put together."

2016 SCHEDULE

UCSB's annual scrimmage against Westmont on Aug. 20 will kick of an 11-game home schedule featuring some of the biggest names in West Coast soccer like UCLA, Cal, UC Irvine, Cal Poly, and Loyola Marymount.

In all, UCSB will face six opponents this season who participated in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, including two teams who made the Sweet 16 and one, Akron, who advanced all the way to the College Cup.

Season tickets for the upcoming season will go on sale on June 1.

UCLA will come to town on Saturday, Sept. 17, move-in weekend at UCSB, in what promises to be another epic chapter in the rivalry between the two. Some of the biggest wins in program history have come against the Bruins, including the 2006 National Championship game and a 2-0 win on Sept. 24, 2010 in front of 15,896 fans, the biggest on-campus regular season crowd in NCAA soccer history. The Gauchos won at UCLA last season for the first time in program history.

A week later, UCSB soccer fans will be treated to a showdown against the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The annual Blue-Green Rivalry game at Harder Stadium against Cal Poly is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22.

Called the best rivalry in college soccer, the Blue-Green Rivalry games have been the two-best attended men's soccer games NCAA-wide for four consecutive seasons, and UCSB-Cal Poly matchups now comprise 13 of the 19 best-attended regular season campus games in Division I history.

Not just an annual grudge match, the Gauchos and Mustangs have produced some top-end soccer since the rivalry hit its stride in 2007, with 16 out of 20 games being decided by one goal or fewer.

"What excites me the most about this year's schedule is that we are playing the best games, against the top league and non-league opponents, on Saturday nights when we can have both the community and our students come out to support us," said Vom Steeg.

UCSB has been the NCAA men's soccer attendance champion for nine straight years, and has a solid opportunity to do so again with the schedule constructed.

"With this schedule, we have the opportunity to top 60,000 people attending UCSB soccer games this fall," said Vom Steeg. "This is unique to Santa Barbara and it highlights to the country what we have said for a long time – that we have the best soccer fans in the country."

The Gauchos are on the road for nine games in 2016, making appearances in a pair of tournaments that will feature non-conference opponents Akron, Ohio State, Oakland, and Butler.

After the season-opener against Westmont, the Gauchos will fly to Ohio for a pair of contests against Oakland and Ohio State on Aug. 26 and 28, respectively.

Following that, UCSB will host traditional power San Diego in the regular season home opener on Sept. 2.

The Gauchos open Big West play on the road at UC Riverside on Thursday, Sept. 29. Their first conference game at home will be against UC Irvine on Thursday, Oct. 6.

UCSB's home finale will be against UC Davis on the afternoon of Sun, Oct. 30.

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