Quest to Return to the National Championship Stage Begins With No. 7 Preseason Ranking

Aug. 12, 2005

Santa Barbara, Calif. - With a bitter taste still left in its mouth, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team is set to kick off its 2005 season next Wednesday, August 17th. UCSB's first official practice of the fall begins at 8:30 a.m. Ranked No. 7 in College Soccer News' preseason national poll, the Gauchos return a multitude of talent while welcoming one of the nation's top recruiting classes to the campus of UCSB.

The last time Santa Barbara walked on the pitch as a team in season it was in anguish following their 3-2 loss in penalty kicks to Indiana to determine the 2004 National Champion at the Home Depot Center. Following a very productive off-season, the 2005 Gauchos' first steps as a team on a quest to reverse its fortunes at the College Cup will begin with a series of two-a-day practices starting next Wednesday. UCSB will follow the twice-daily practices until its preseason match against cross-town rival Westmont on Saturday, August 27th.

The Gauchos' No. 7 preseason ranking is the highest in the program's history, however it is a small cry from last year's No. 1 national ranking that it held for a majority of the season, including during last year's College Cup. UCSB returns six starters from last year's National Finalist squad, including a pair of freshman All-Americans in defender Andy Iro and Tyler Rosenlund. And senior team co-captains Nate Boyden (2nd team All-Big West), Pat Scott (1st team All-Big West), and Bryan Byrne should provide solid guidance for this year's recruiting class, which received preliminary rankings as high as 11th nationally. Santa Barbara, however, will be without the services of would-be junior forward Tino Nuñez in 2005 due to his rehabilition of an injury.

Head coach Tim Vom Steeg, the 2004 NSCAA National Coach of the Year, along with assistant coaches Grant Porter and Leo Chappel, the 2004 NSCAA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year will be putting the Gauchos through their paces in preparation for the season-opening UCSB adidas Classic help between September 2nd and 4th. The Gauchos will be facing Pac-10 power Cal on the 2nd and perennial national power Virginia on the 4th, both of which sit in CSN's Preseason Top 30. All together UCSB has seven matches scheduled in 2005 against teams that ranked in the poll.