For those that dispute the significance of college soccer in our american soccer landscape, look at the following statistics that were referenced by J.R. Eskilson as he reports on the UC Santa Barbara vs. UCLA match-
On Friday night, 15,896 people packed into Harder Stadium to watch UCSB take on UCLA. Again, that is fifteen thousand eight hundred ninty-six people who showed up on a Friday night for a college soccer game.
Let’s put that number in context:
- The best attended college soccer game on campus in history.
- The attendance of 15,896 is better than THREE MLS games from Saturday: FC Dallas at Kansas City (10,385), Columbus at New England (13,533), and Houston at D.C. United (13,828). (Writer's note: Chris Pontius was part of the UCSB crowd, not the D.C. crowd.)
- The 15,896 in Santa Barbara is more than the average attendance for TWO EPL teams this season: Blackpool (15,715) and Wigan Athletic (15,499). And more than five Serie A teams: Parma, Udinese, Chievo Verona, Catania, and Leece.
- No USL regular season game in the last two years had more people in the stands.
- UCSB Men’s Soccer could qualify for Division I Football Bowl Series status with that attendance. Football teams must average over 15,000 fans to qualify for FBS.
- The undergraduate size of UCSB is 17,726. Safe to assume half the crowd on Friday night was students. Thus, roughly half of the campus was at a soccer game!