SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team is ranked 18th in the inaugural National Soccer Coaches Association poll of the 2014 season, the organization announced Wednesday.
The Gauchos, winners of the 2013 Big West regular season championship, will be aiming for another NCAA Tournament bid in 2014. The program has advanced to postseason play 11 times in the last 12 seasons. Last year, UCSB was seeded No. 10 in the tournament.
Santa Barbara is led by a host of key returnees and a bevy of talented newcomers in 2014. Sophomore midfielders Ismaila Jome and Drew Murphy, sophomore goalkeeper Josh McNeely, and defenders Kevin Garcia-Lopez and Nick DePuy lead the list of returnees. Jome was the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year in 2013, while McNeely had six shutouts and a goals against average of 0.83.
UCSB had one of its finest recruiting classes in history and will welcome the services of a quartet of players who competed for the L.A. Galaxy Academy. The foursome are Adonis Amaya, Ryo Fujii, Axel Mendez and Jeff Quezada.
The Gauchos are joined in the poll by fellow-Big West members UC Irvine (No. 16) and Cal State Northridge (No. 24).
UCSB will play in its annual exhibition game for the Bryant and Sons Cup when it hosts Westmont College at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23. The regular season opens with games at the College of Charleston and Furman on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 respectively. The first regular season Meredith Field at Harder Stadium appearance will be Friday, Sept. 5 at 7:00 p.m. against Northwestern.
In addition to the game against Northwestern, the Gauchos will have key Harder Stadium showdowns against UCLA on Sept. 20, San Diego State on Sept. 26, Cal State Northridge on Oct. 2, UC Irvine on Oct. 4 and Cal Poly on Oct. 25. UCLA enters the season ranked No. 4 in the NSCAA poll.
To purchase season tickets for UCSB men's soccer, or for additional information, please drop by the Athletics Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.
To view the entire NSCAA Poll click here.