Columbus Crew Return to Harder Stadium During Busy Spring Schedule

March 1, 2007

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 2006 National Champion UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team will take on three professional teams and a collegiate champion squad from Japan during the 2007 spring season, it was announced today. The Gauchos open their spring schedule against Chivas USA this Saturday, March 3 at the Home Depot Center.

UCSB will return to the site of the 2004 national final on Saturday, where the Gauchos tied Indiana 1-1 before falling 3-2 in penalty kicks. Santa Barbara will square off with the first of two Major League Soccer clubs this spring at the HDC's University Field 2 at 2:00 p.m. Chivas finished fourth in the 2006 MLS Western Conference at 10-9-13 overall and lost to the eventual MLS Champion Houston Dynamo in the conference semifinals. Tickets for Saturday's scrimmage are available at MLSnet.com.

Major League Soccer returns to UCSB's Harder Stadium later this month when the Gauchos welcome the Columbus Crew to town for the second consecutive year on Thursday, March 15. The evening, presented by the Santa Barbara Soccer Club, will begin with a players and coaches clinic featuring Crew head coach Sigi Schmid. There will also be autograph sessions and jersey raffles before the scrimmage kicks off at 7:00 p.m. Columbus finished last in the Eastern Conference last season at 8-15-9.

Following the matchup with the Crew, the Gauchos will test their skills against a completely different style of play when they host Shizuokia Sangyo University, a collegiate team from Japan, on Saturday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m. Sangyo has won the Tokai Region First Division Championship the last three years.

Santa Barbara will then wrap up its spring slate Tuesday, May 1 with a scrimmage against Mexico's Necaxa Elite Under-21 squad at Santa Barbara High School's Peabody Stadium. A Second (Primera A) Division team from the city of Aguascalientes, Necaxa currently boasts three players on the U-20 Mexican national team that is currently qualifying for the FIFA Youth World Cup. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the contests with the Columbus Crew and Shizuokia Sangyo University can be purchased at the UCSB Athletic Ticket Office or by calling 805-893-UCSB. They can also be purchased at the gate the day of the event, one hour prior to kickoff. Prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12, and admission is free for students with a valid ID.