SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team has been selected by the Big West coaches to win the North Division, and seniors Achille Campion and Fifi Baiden were both included in the 11-man Preseason All-Conference Team, it was announced by the league on Thursday.
The Gauchos, who finished last season with a 10-6-3 record, return seven starters in 2013 and will be fielding a completely healthy lineup to start the year, something they could rarely say last year.
"We've established a very high standard for our team, so it's good to see that other Big West schools are still recognizing the level of talent that our team has," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "We have to accept the challenge of being expected to finish at the top and work with it."
UCSB received five first place votes out of eight Big West institutions, totaling 25 points overall. UC Davis, who was picked to finish second, had 23 points.
Campion and Baiden, who have also been counted among the top Division-I players in the country, were both voted onto the Preseason All-Conference Team. With two selections, the Gauchos had the second most representatives on the team.
"Fifi is an established player in this league, and I think most coaches recognize that Achille would have been one of the top scorers in the conference last season had he not got hurt," said Vom Steeg. "If both those players stay healthy and productive, then I'm confident we will have had a successful year."
Baiden, a 2012 First Team All-Big West selection, returns as the anchor of the midfield for the Gauchos. Campion, who netted six times in just seven games a year ago, will be the focal point of the UCSB offense in the new campaign.
The No. 13 ranked Gauchos will open their season this Saturday with an exhibition match against Westmont. Season tickets are still available for the upcoming season, with plans starting at $3 per game with the Family Plan. To grab your seats today, call 805.893.UCSB, visit the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, or purchase online here.
Earlier today, UCSB's comprehensive broadcast schedule for men's soccer was announced.