SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University men's soccer team announced its 2011 season schedule today. A series of marquee home games against Stanford, UCLA, Harvard and New Mexico highlight the non-conference slate prior to West Coast Conference play beginning in late September.
Santa Clara is coming off the program's 11th WCC Championship title, and its fourth under the leadership of head coach Cameron Rast. Twelve of the Broncos 20 games will be played on their home field at Buck Shaw Stadium where they have gone 52-14-19 since Rast was elevated to head coach in 2002.
"When we look to put our schedule together, it can be very different each year," said Rast. "With the majority of our group returning, we needed to challenge ourselves against some of the best teams in the country, to see where we really stack up. This schedule will do that."
The Broncos will face one of their toughest pre-conference tests in recent memory. Both UCLA and California advanced into the NCAA College Cup tournament's final eight last year, while New Mexico, Harvard and Stanford have been perennial NCAA qualifiers.
"A big reason why we scheduled so tough was to give us multiple opportunities to get into the postseason," said Rast. "One way is to achieve a high RPI and the other is the automatic bid we can attain by winning the West Coast Conference."
Santa Clara returns all nine of its all-league players from its 2010 WCC Championship team, including Erik Hurtado, Mykell Bates, Brandon Zimmerman, Keigo Kameya, Mark Daus, Murphy Campbell, Wesley Culver, Kevin Klasila and Eric Masch. After playing five of their first six matches away from home, SCU lost just once in its final 14 games to win the league and make the NCAA tournament field for the 19th time in program history.
"We've traveled quite a bit over the past three or four years really trying to help mature our group and give our guys a lot of different experiences," said Rast. "At the same time, it is really important to build on some of the momentum we gained from last year, winning the West Coast Conference title. Being able to play at home in front of our fans and try to increase the support we receive is a reward to our players and hopefully a reward for our fans because we are going to offer a great product this year. Over the years we've had some great success at Buck Shaw Stadium and we plan to continue that."
The season begins with Stanford visiting Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday, August 27. The WCC schedule is initiated with a three-game homestand September 25 through October 2 against Portland, Gonzaga and USF.
Season tickets for all 12 home games start at $50 for adults and $25 for youth and seniors. The SCU athletic department is also offering a season ticket 'Family Plan,' which includes five tickets to every home game for just $100.
Fans can purchase tickets online (www.SantaClaraBroncos.com/buytickets), over the phone at 408-554-4660 or by visiting the SCU Ticket Office, located at The Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara campus, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.