SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team will open up their spring schedule against pro side Sacramento Republic tonight, weather permitting, kicking off the start of a run of matches featuring top amateur and pro teams from around California as the Gauchos look to stay sharp and retain the momentum that produced the second highest NCAA Tournament seed in program history this past season.
The match against Sacramento, an expansion franchise that will begin playing matches in the USL Pro this season, is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start at Harder Stadium. If weather renders Meredith Field unusable, the game will move to Rob Field on the UCSB campus.
"These spring games are always important to reinforce the things that made us a successful team last season and to start implementing new ideas and strategies that will shape how we play next year," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "We're especially happy to schedule this match with Sacramento. You always want to see where you stack up with pro teams."
Throughout the spring, the Gauchos are scheduled to do battle with Bakersfield, Loyola Marymount, San Jose State, and Premier Development League side LA Blues. UCSB wraps up its spring games with the annual alumni game on Apr. 26. A full schedule can be found below.
Vom Steeg's squad will return the likes of All-Region winger Ismaila Jome, star midfielders Drew Murphy and Paul Ehmann, sturdy center back Nick DePuy, All-Conference goalkeeper Josh McNeely, speedy wingback Kevin Garcia-Lopez, and reliable forwards Charlie Miller and Reed McKenna.
The Gauchos put together a strong rebound season in 2013, culminating in a No. 10 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, the second-highest in program history. The team also went undefeated in Big West games (7-0-3) for just the second time since the league reinstituted soccer in 2001.
Admission for all spring games at Harder Stadium is free.
UCSB Soccer Spring Schedule
Friday, Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Sacramento Republic FC (USL Pro) at Harder Stadium (at Rob Field if Harder Stadium unusable)
Friday, Mar. 7 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Bakersfield at Harder Stadium
Sunday, Apr. 6 at 4:00 p.m. at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Sunday, Apr. 13 at 5:00 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Blues (PDL) at Harder Stadium
Friday, Apr. 18 at 7:00 p.m. vs. San Jose State at Harder Stadium
Saturday, Apr. 26 at 1:00 p.m. vs. Westmont Alumni at Harder Stadium
Saturday, Apr. 26 at 3:00 p.m. vs UCSB Alumni at Harder Stadium