Harder Stadium Announced As New Home Of Santa Barbara Sky FC

Club, university sign multi-year agreement to bring professional soccer to 17,000-seat soccer stadium | Image Credit: UCSB Intercollegiate Athletics Department
Club, university sign multi-year agreement to bring professional soccer to 17,000-seat soccer stadium | Image Credit: UCSB Intercollegiate Athletics Department

CLUB, UNIVERSITY SIGN MULTI-YEAR AGREEMENT TO BRING PROFESSIONAL SOCCER TO 17,000-SEAT SOCCER STADIUM

UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Sky FC have announced a multi-year agreement that will bring professional soccer to Harder Stadium beginning in March 2025.

“Harder Stadium on our beautiful UC Santa Barbara campus has long been recognized as Soccer Heaven, and we are thrilled to grow that rich history and support our engaged soccer community by partnering with Santa Barbara Sky FC,” said Kelly Barsky, the John and Jody Arnhold Director of Athletics at UC Santa Barbara. “We align in our vision to serve and support community through a world-class soccer experience and will now be able to provide that year-round.”

Harder Stadium is the home to the UC Santa Barbara men’s and women’s soccer teams and has hosted two College Cup National Championships in 2010 and 2018. The 17,000-seat stadium has also been home to other prestigious soccer events as it served as a training facility for the U.S. Women’s National Team and has been the home to numerous international friendlies. UC Santa Barbara is at the forefront of soccer, especially on the Central Coast, as they are also preparing to host an English friendly between Wrexham FC and Bournemouth AFC. The Sky FC will begin play at Harder Stadium as a member of the USL League One. More information including schedule and ticketing will be available closer to the start of the season.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to call UC Santa Barbara’s Harder Stadium home for our inaugural season and beyond,” said Peter Moore, founding owner of the Santa Barbara Sky FC. “There isn’t a finer soccer-specific collegiate stadium on the West Coast, and it’s a befitting venue for the Santa Barbara community to enjoy top-class professional soccer. We look forward to working with the university to build upon the amazing soccer legacy that the Gaucho program has built here in Santa Barbara over the past two decades.”

Not only will this be the competitive home of Santa Barbara Sky FC, but this partnership provides a connection beyond soccer. By having the club on campus, new opportunities will be available for students to intern and learn the world of professional sports and participate in giving back to the community through their foundation, SB Fundación Cielo. The club will look to add a women’s franchise in the future as well.

“It’s very exciting to see Santa Barbara Sky FC join forces with UC Santa Barbara to write the next chapter in the storied history of Harder Stadium,” said USL Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis. “As the league continues to grow nationally, it’s encouraging to see clubs find their place in their respective communities. We’re confident Sky FC will truly be able to impact the entire Santa Barbara community and showcase world-class professional soccer at Harder Stadium – one of the finest soccer-specific stadiums in California.”

This partnership shows another reason why Harder Stadium is truly Soccer Heaven. To purchase season tickets for the upcoming UC Santa Barbara Men’s and Women’s Soccer seasons or to follow along with everything happening at Harder Stadium, visit ucsbgauchos.com/ThisIsSoccerHeaven.

About the USL
Impacting more than 200 communities, the United Soccer League (USL) is the largest professional soccer organization in North America. The USL is the first and only soccer organization in the United States to build a youth-to-professional pathway for both women and men within one ecosystem. That structure includes three professional leagues: USL Championship (men – 24 teams in 2024), USL League One (men – 12 teams in 2024) and USL Super League (women), the country’s two leading pre-professional leagues: USL League Two (men) and W League (women), and two elite national youth systems for boys and girls (USL Academy and USL Youth.

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