The NCAA men’s soccer College Cup returns to Harder Stadium in 2018 and 2020. (UCSB Gauchos photo)

UC Santa Barbara has been selected as the host for the 2018 and 2020 men’s College Cups at Harder Stadium, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

The College Cup is the final four of NCAA Division 1 soccer.

The Gauchos last hosted the College Cup in 2010, with Akron, Louisville, Michigan and North Carolina making up the final four. In the semifinals, Louisville defeated North Carolina while Akron topped Michigan. In the final on Dec. 1, in front of more nearly 10,000 fans, Akron recorded a 1-0 shutout win over Louisville to win its first NCAA title in any sport.

Since that year, the College Cup has drawn disappointing crowds. Last year’s final between Stanford and Wake Forest at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston —  home of the MLS Houston Dynamo — had an attendance of 6,315. Stanford and Clemson played in the 2015 final in front of 4,081 at the stadium of the MLS club Sporting Kansas City. 

Harder Stadium has been the site of the six largest crowds at an on-campus venue in NCAA history. UCSB’s match against UCLA in 2010 drew is No. 1 on the list at 15,896. The Gaucho program has led the NCAA in attendance since 2007.

“We are excited about the opportunity to host the NCAA College Cup at Harder Stadium,” said UCSB Director of Athletics John McCutcheon. “We look forward to engaging our community and to have a first class event that the participants and fans will remember.”

The 2017 College Cup will be held in Philadelphia and the 2019 and 2021 Cups will be played in Cary, N.C.

UCSB has played in two College Cups, winning the national title in 2006 in St. Louis and finishing as the runner-up in 2004 at the Stub Hub Center in Carson.

Here is a UCSB video about soccer at Harder Stadium.

YouTube video

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.