Sept. 30, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UCSB men's soccer team does not just want to beat Indiana on Friday evening in front of Fox Soccer Channel's national television audience, it also wants to pick up a victory in front of a record crowd at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.
The current NCAA men's soccer Division I regular season attendance record at a college soccer venue was set on Sept. 27, 1987 when 12,224 people showed up for a match between Fresno State and San Francisco. The next best mark is 11,075, which was the attendance for the Gauchos' Oct. 17, 2008 match at Cal Poly.
In fact, UCSB has played in four of the top-10 most heavily attended regular season Division I soccer matches of all-time and has hosted three of them. The current school record for regular season attendance is 9,749, set on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008 in a match with Cal Poly.
The Gauchos' biggest crowd this season was 8,425 at the exhibition match against the Mexican U-17 National Team on Tuesday, September 22. The match, which was played in conjunction with UCSB Athletics' celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, was won, 2-1 by the Gauchos, in double overtime.
UCSB's previous season-high attendance was 3,925 for the Sept. 11 game against Rutgers that was nationally televised by Fox Soccer Channel prior to fall quarter starting. The Gauchos' current average attendance for 2009 is 4,015 and the team has played just one home game since school began, drawing 4,511 last Sunday against UC Irvine.
"Our attendance at soccer continues to both amaze and improve," said Executive Associate Athletics Director Tom Hastings. "To have nearly 8,500 people on a Tuesday night against the Mexican U-17 team and almost 5,000 on a Sunday night is a testament to why we feel Santa Barbara is Soccer Town, USA and UCSB is on its way to becoming Soccer School, USA. This community has shown nothing but support for soccer and it helps to have a program among the truly elite in the nation. All of this helps as we continue to push towards hosting the 2010 College Cup.
"We expect a great turnout Friday night."
Friday's pairing with Indiana is the first on the west coast - and on television - between the two teams since they battled in the 2004 College Cup Final. Indiana won the NCAA title after the game went into penalty kicks.
Since 2009 marks the five-year anniversary of that game, UCSB will honor the 2004 squad at halftime. The Athletics Department will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its first NCAA Division I title when it honors the 1979 UCSB men's water polo team at the soccer game.
UCSB Athletics will also be running a special BOGO (Bring One, Get One) promotion at Friday's game for UCSB students. Any student that brings a t-shirt from another college to Friday's game will be able to exchange that t-shirt for a brand new UCSB shirt.
If you can't wait to till Friday to get some new Gaucho gear, check out the new Gaucho Shop online to get your hands on the newest in UCSB fan apparel, click here.
To purchase tickets to Friday's game, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.