Gauchos Announce 2006 Men's Soccer Schedule

Feb. 6, 2006

Santa Barbara, Calif. - Looking for a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team has put together a top-notch schedule for the 2006 season. Finishing 2005 with a No. 23 national ranking after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Gauchos' 2006 slate is highlighted with six matches against teams who made the 2005 tournament field.

UCSB begins with a preseason scrimmage against cross-town rival Westmont in hopes of capturing a sixth-straight Bryant & Sons Cup on August 19th. The Gauchos then hit the road to open the season in Charlottesville to take part in the University of Virginia's tournament, squaring off against Akron and the Cavaliers, both of whom where seeded teams in this year's NCAA Tournament.

The Gauchos return to Santa Barbara in week two for four consecutive home matches, including NCAA Tournament participant San Diego State, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Loyola Marymount, all three of which finished the season with an RPI of 70 or better.

UCSB also begins Big West Conference play during the four-game homestand when it faces Cal Poly on September 6th. The Gauchos have claimed three of the past five Big West Titles, but they will be looking to regain it from 2005 Champion and NCAA Tournament seed Cal State Northridge. The Matadors, who appeared at No. 13 in the final NSCAA/adidas coaches' poll after knocking the Gauchos out of the playoffs in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, will host UCSB on September 27th and visit Harder Stadium on October 25th.

The Gauchos' final two non-conference matches offer Santa Barbara's soccer fans with an opportunity to see some great soccer as they host Big Ten power Michigan on September 30th, followed up by perennial national-power and 2005 tournament seed UCLA on October 5th before resuming Big West play.

Welcoming back 18 letterwinners from last year's squad, including All-Americans Andy Iro and Eric Avila, and All-Far West Region honoree Bryan Byrne, the Gauchos finish the regular season with eight Big West matches, closing the schedule at home against UC Riverside on November 4th.

All together, UCSB's 2006 schedule has six games against teams that finished the year ranked in the Top 25 in the nation, all of which made the NCAA Tournament, with five earning tournament seeds. Santa Barbara's seven non-conference opponents boast an average final 2005 RPI of 35.6.

In preparation for the 2006 season, the Gauchos will also host NAIA National Finalist Azusa Pacific and Westmont in a spring season doubleheader on Tuesday, March 7th at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively, at Harder Stadium. Admission for the spring doubleheader is free. Also on tap this spring, UCSB will once again welcome Major League Soccer back to Santa Barbara when the Gauchos face off with the MLS's Columbus Crew on Wednesday, March 15th at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the UCSB/Crew match are $10 for adults and $5 for students with ID and children under 12. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 805-893-UCSB.

Complete Schedule is as follows:

8/19	Sat	Westmont (Scrimmage)	Santa Barbara	7:00 p.m.

University of Virginia Tournament Charlottesville, Va. 8/25 Fri Akron 3:00 p.m. 8/27 Sun Virginia 4:00 p.m.

9/2 Sat San Diego State Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 9/6 Wed *Cal Poly Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 9/8 Fri Illinois-Chicago Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 9/15 Fri Loyola Marymount Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 9/21 Thu *Cal State Fullerton Fullerton 7:00 p.m. 9/23 Sat UC Davis Davis 1:00 p.m. 9/27 Wed *Cal State Northridge Northridge 3:00 p.m. 9/30 Sat Michigan Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m.

10/5 Thu UCLA Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 10/7 Sat *UC Irvine Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 10/11 Wed *UC Riverside Riverside 3:00 p.m. 10/14 Sat *Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 7:00 p.m. 10/18 Wed UC Davis Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 10/21 Sat *Cal State Fullerton Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 10/25 Wed *Cal State Northridge Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m. 11/1 Wed *UC Irvine Irvine 7:00 p.m. 11/4 Sat *UC Riverside Santa Barbara 7:00 p.m.

NCAA Tournament 11/10-11 Fri-Sat First Round TBA TBA 11/14 Tue Second Round TBA TBA 11/18-19 Sat-Sun Sweet 16 TBA TBA 11/24-26 Fri-Sun Elite 8 TBA TBA

NCAA College Cup SLU's Hermann Stadium St. Louis, Mo. 12/1 Fri NCAA Semifinals TBA 12/3 Sun National Championship TBA *indicates Big West Conference match All homes games played in Harder Stadium (16,000)