The UCSB Men’s Soccer Team is one of the most successful soccer programs in the nation. With a 2006 National Championship to their name, and a top 20 ranking this season, the Gauchos once again have their eyes set on claiming a title in 2011.
But not before they help out the community first.
“It’s very important to us to have our players accessible to kids, particularly kids in this community,” said Gauchos head coach Tim Von Steeg. “We have a lot of requests that come in every single year for grammar schools, junior highs, and other groups like the Boys and Girls Club. They are all looking for young men, role models, that will not just teach soccer skills but be role models for young boys and girls in town.”
The Gauchos had a busy summer helping out Santa Barbara children, offering their services to numerous charitable organizations and youth groups in the county. On August 27 the Gauchos took part in the AYSO Skills Day at Girsh Park. With over 1,000 AYSO players, coaches, and parents in attendance, the UCSB men’s and women’s soccer players participated in skills training, autograph sessions and face painting with AYSO players. Furthermore, the UCSB coaches ran coaching clinics for all of the local youth coaches in the area.
“We have players from all over the world in our roster and within our team. It gives a different perspective to the kids [that we help],” assistant coach Greg Wilson said. “We have many hispanic speaking players, players from Africa and Germany and all over Europe. It is a great opportunity for the local kids to see what a global sport we are and what a global initiative we have.”