Gauchos Will Host Under-17 Mexican National Team in Soccer Exhibition on Sept. 22

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Sept. 8, 2009

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - As part of UCSB Athletics' celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Gaucho men's soccer team will host an exhibition match against Mexico's U-17 National Team at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The Mexican team, which won the U-17 World Championship in 2005, has qualified along with the USA for the 2009 U-17 World Championship to be held in Nigeria beginning on October 24.

The U-17 team is anchored by some of the top athletes in the Mexican first division and features young and upcoming stars from the following 1st Division Mexican Clubs: Chivas de Guadalajara, Atlas, Club America, Pumas UNAM, and Monterrey. This match marks the first time ever that a Mexican National Soccer team has come to the city of Santa Barbara.

"As such a visual part of this great university we will always engage the community by promoting important diversity celebrations such as Hispanic Heritage Month," said Mark Massari, UCSB's Director of Athletics. "This match is a great opportunity for us to shine the spotlight on a huge part of our community while also allowing our soccer team to play another great opponent."

"In the past, we have hosted First Division Mexican Soccer Clubs that have drawn great crowds in attendance at Harder Stadium, but this event on September 22nd includes the national pride from the Mexican population," said local soccer coach and promoter Rudy Ybarra. "This is a Mexican National Team that has already qualified for the World Cup 2009 in Nigeria and is the talk of the Mexican Soccer world. This will be the 9th World Cup that the Mexican U-17 Team has qualified for in their history, and this game will be a huge test for both of these storied soccer teams."

While some details of the match are still being finalized, tickets are available. Tickets are priced at $15 for adults / seniors and $8 for youth 12 and under. Current UCSB men's soccer season-ticket holders and UCSB students (with valid current ID) are free. Season ticket holders will receive their additional tickets in the mail soon and those Gaucho fund donors who have Gold Zone parking are permitted to use their pass.

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here, via phone at 893-UCSB, in person at the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office and at the following in-store locations throughout the Santa Barbara and Central Coast area: Aggressive Soccer (Santa Barbara and Goleta), Extreme Soccer (Santa Barbara and Oxnard), Guadalajara Market in Santa Barbara, Planet Soccer in Lompoc and Soccer World in Santa Maria.

"We are very excited to have the opportunity to host the Mexican U-17 National Team at Harder Stadium," said Tim Vom Steeg, UCSB men's soccer head coach. "This exhibition offers a great opportunity for our players to compete in an international friendly and to introduce UCSB soccer to a fan base that may not be attending our games. This is one of several big games we have planned in our 2009 and 2010 schedule as we make preparations to host the 2010 College Cup."

The match between the fourth-ranked Gauchos and the U-17 Mexican National Team is just one of several events planned by UCSB Athletics for Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Other activities and "Gauchos Give" outreach efforts will be announced in the near future.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office now has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays, making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The ICA Ticket Office will be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the ticket office, are already available during weekday hours, which are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.