For the UCSB men’s soccer team, winning games is the most important mission, but getting nationally recognized always feels good too.
The Gauchos secured a place in this week’s top 10 in two major national polls. The NSCAA/Adidas Coaches Poll, the NCAA’s primary poll, pegged Santa Barbara at the #9 spot on Monday. The honor is the highest national ranking in school history. The Gauchos are ranked #7 by College Soccer News. The Gauchos are 7-0-1 this season and have shut out opponents over the past four games.
Increased success over the past couple seasons has heightened media attention, Big West and national recognition and recruiting efforts.
“It’s an honor in my last year to leave my mark,” senior midfielder Matt Kubota said. “I see how much mail that [UCSB Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg] is getting, and this will only help the program get stronger.”
With Santa Clara University losing twice this week on the road, Santa Barbara has also climbed to #2 in the NSCAA/Adidas Coaches’ Poll of the Far West teams. Only #2 nationally ranked UCLA (6-1-0) sits higher in the Far West rankings, nailing the top spot.
There are only three other undefeated teams – #1 University of Maryland (9-0-0), #3 University of Alabama at Birmingham (6-0-2) and #4 Old Dominion (8-0-0) – that sit higher in the NSCAA/adidas Coaches Poll than the Gauchos.
With 12 games remaining in the regular season, including nine Big West matches, Santa Barbara realizes that to remain among the national powerhouses, it needs to take things one game at a time.
“It’s way too early to talk about national title hopes,” Kubota said. “We just need to concentrate on our next challenge and keep working hard.”