The NCAA has awarded the 2010 Men's College Cup to UC Santa Barbara, marking just the second time since 1986 that the finals will be played on the West Coast.
The finals will be played at UCSB's Meredith Field at Harder Stadium, one of the college soccer's hotbeds. UCSB has built one of the largest followings in college soccer. Indeed, Big West schools such as Cal Poly and UCSB regularly draw the largest crowds of the men's season.
"This is tremendous news," UCSB Director of Athletics Mark Massari said. "UCSB, Santa Barbara and the central coast area is a great choice for celebrating the College Cup."
UCSB will host a national championship event for the first time since the men's volleyball championship of 1974. The previous time the men's finals were played on the West Coast was in 2004 when UCLA hosted college soccer's championship at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. UC Santa Barbara played in that final.
"This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our facilities, our university, our community and the great fans of the central coast," UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg said.
UCSB's Harder Stadium, opened in 1966 as the home of the now-defunct football program, holds nearly 17,000.
The Gauchos, who have finished ranked in the Top 25 in a school-record seven consecutive seasons, have led the nation in average home attendance each of the past two seasons. The three largest regular-season crowds in 2009 involved UCSB -- two home games and its away game at Cal Poly.
Harder Stadium has hosted nine NCAA postseason matches, including this past season's second-round game against Cal. UCSB set a school record with its 11,214 fans to see the 2004 NCAA quarterfinal match against VCU, drew 9,641 for a 2007 postseason match against Washington and had 8,784 in attendance for the 2006 match against Northwestern.
The 2009 College Cup will be hosted by Cary, N.C.
West Coast Sites
Berkeley, Calif. 1966
San Jose, Calif. 1969
Berkeley, Calif. 1977
Palo Alto, Calif. 1981
Seattle, Wash. 1984
Seattle, Wash. 1985
Carson, Calif. 2006