Top Stories

NCAA Preview: UCSB looking to repeat ’06 College Cup glory

Photo by Tony Mastres/Courtesy of UCSB Media Relations


2010 has every chance to be a historic year for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.The Gauchos head into 2010 heavy with the burden of expectation after being ranked No.5 in Soccer America’s preseason rankings after returning eight starters from a team that finished 17-5-2 last season.

UCSB will need to deal with the pressure of hosting the College Cup Final Four, but could have its strongest team since winning College Cup in 2006. Despite opening the regular season with a 1-0 loss to Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday night, the Gauchos remain the West Coast’s best chance to win the College Cup. 

To return to their former glories, the Gauchos and head coach Tim Vom Steeg will need to rely on a stout defense led by Goalkeeper Sam Hayden, the Big West Goalkeeper of the year and a stout backline.

Along with the effective goalkeeping of Hayden, the defense is anchored by senior defender Michael Boxall, a three year starter for the Gauchos. Boxall and Hayden will need to steel a defense that has been prone to losing focus over the span of 90 minutes. Despite the success in 2009, the Gauchos were prone to defensive lapses in judgment during the most important matches. In 2010, Vom Steeg will hope that his men mature into Cup contenders. 

While many powers including Akron and UCLA lost many players to the lure of the MLS SuperDraft, the Gauchos and their eight returning starters are nearly identical to the 2009 edition. Santa Barbara did lose the services of one key player, David Walker who was drafted by the Houston Dynamo in this year’s SuperDraft after leading the Big West and the team in scoring last season.

With Walker gone, it will be up preseason All-American Danny Barrera to pick up the offensive output. The junior midfielder led all returnees in points with 19 last season starting every game for Santa Barbara. A classic playmaker, it will be Barrera’s responsibility to anchor the Gaucho attack with his speed and passing prowess.  In addition to Barrera, Santa Barbara’s offense will be welcome sophomore transfer and U.S. U-20 midfielder Sam Garza from the University of Denver, who may help alleviate the pressure on Barrera.

The Gauchos may be the best chance for the West to return to the College Cup Final, but they are not the only power on the Pacific. UCSB are joined by the team that knocked the Gauchos out of the NCAA tournament, traditional power UCLA, who is ranked No.11 by Soccer America and No.16 Stanford, both  who hope to put a dent in the Gauchos claim of West coast dominance. 

The Gauchos will now need to rebound after a disappointing opening loss to lowly Cal State Bakersfield as they travel to New Mexico to take on the University of New Mexico on Saturday before returning to Santa Barbara to face Creighton on Tuesday.  


  1. As a UCSB alum, all I got is “Go ‘Chos!!!” UCSB love, how sweet is that? I will admit to not really knowing what the Beautiful Game was back then. I played baseball there. Still, I love the publicity the place gets beyond the toothsome coeds, partying, and the beach setting (not that there’s anything wrong wtih those).

  2. no one’s forcing me to read anything, however I enjoy giving Ives my many many impressions and hits, so I come here often. I, like many readers here (as evidenced by the comments) don’t have an interest level that would require 7 posts in one day.

  3. To victory my Argentinian Cowboys!!!!! If they win the title at Harder Stadium, there will be chaos in the streets than on Halloween night! Many couches will lose their lives…

  4. Thanks for the updates on the NCAA Ives! It has been fun seeing the talent from the last Superdraft do so well in the MLS.

  5. Boxall played against Brazil in the olympics… their only weakness is up front with a proven Scorer like Walker, Pontius, or Rob Friend (All in Professional Ranks from US to Germany)

  6. World Cup team: Cherundolo, Gooch, Bocanegra, Goodson, Guzan, Marcus, Bornstein, Dempsey, Clark, Holden, Buddle, Feilhaber, Edu

    Earlier to WC players for the US like Reyna, Mastroeni, Ramos, Wynalda, Friedel, McBride, Conrad, Hedjuk, Jones, Ching

    Current prospects: Mwanga, Okugo, Ream, Gonzalez, Stephens, Tchani, Zakuani, MacMath, Lichaj, Lenhart, Opara

    Like it or not, a good chunk of players have come from college and are still coming from college. So it’s important to follow.

  7. UGH! Seriously — can we stop pretending that college soccer acutally matters? Not until this sorry aberration of American soccer is effectively marginalized will we be able to start producing players who are actually capable of making the U.S. national team a top competitor on the world stage, and paying any attention to the college game only undermines that goal. It needs to go away, badly — and take the greedy suburban youth clubs with it!

  8. Dude, text me your coordinates and I’ll arrange a rescue mission to free you from the shackles Ives has put you in that force you to read all 7 posts.

  9. I’d hate to admit it, but I kind of agree with the original posting. College soccer is really the red-headed step child of both college sports and soccer.

    I used to live in RDU and watch Duke, NCSU and Carolina 6-7x a year, but those were hard times 🙂

    All joking aside – I find myself watching HS soccer games these days (I don’t think I could actually have made some of these teams – and I was …frankly damn good) so, although I’m ‘over it’ regarding college soccer – it’s interesting in it’s own right (too many great games on, so little time). Perhaps a seperate tab so us ‘pro snobs’ can avoid the noise?

  10. Last time UCSB hosted they defeated UCLA? I don’t remember a blizzard and match postponement in Santa Barbara back in ’06. That year’s College Cup was in St. Louis. Santa Barbara has never hosted the College Cup before.

  11. i get that it’s the start of mens soccer, but do we really need 7, yes SEVEN posts about it? Seems a bit overkill

    (SBI-It’s our college soccer preview day. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a slow time right now with the international window in Europe. Today’s as good a day as any to do it, and I feel it’s worthy of the coverage. It might not be your cup of tea, but I’m sure others will find the stuff interesting.)


Leave a Comment