Text Box: The Fourteen Greatest Rivalries In College Soccer 

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#8 - Michigan State and Michigan

 

These two Big Ten schools square off annually for the “Big Bear” trophy.  This rivalry is all about state bragging rights. 

 

Both schools recruit heavily in-state so many of the players for Michigan and Michigan State grew up playing against each other in club ball which adds to the personal intensity of this very spirited rivalry.  It is a fact that folks from the state of Michigan are biased either toward Michigan or Michigan State from an early age which contributes to the unique atmosphere that surrounds this contest.  This contest is without a doubt the most  highly anticipated game of the year for both schools. 

#7 - UCLA and UC Santa Barbara

 

Boy Howdy!  Be advised when these two face each other on the pitch it is a big deal.  The Bruins have a long history of success and they definitely attract their share of the top talent in talent rich California.  On the other hand UC Santa Barbara is the new kid on the block relatively speaking with a recent history of success that includes winning the National Championship in 2006 against you know who - UCLA. 

 

This one is a natural with more sub-plots than we have space to write about.  The bottom line is that the winner of this one always walks off the pitch feeling extra good.  Last year a record crowd of 15, 896 fans was on hand at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara as UCSB topped UCLA 2-0.  The turnout was the second largest in NCAA regular season history.   Few rivalries can compare with the pure excitement this match generates.   

#6 - Connecticut and St. John’s

 

The Connecticut and St. John’s series dates back to 1981.  It has been pretty even with St. John’s holding a slight 13-12-5 edge.  Connecticut head coach Ray Reid described the Connecticut and St. John’s match-up as a “big time contest that is played with the passion and intensity of an NCAA Tourney quarterfinals game.”  Reid indicated that it is a battle with plenty of intensity even when the teams face each other in the spring season.       

 

Both schools have won a national championship, both have legendary coaches, and both are flagship schools in the Big East Conference.  The players and fans from both schools understand that this match-up always has implications on the national scene as well as in league play.  

 

Throw in the fact that Morrone Stadium in Storrs and Belson Stadium in Queens are great venues for college soccer with a capacity crowd in the stands when the Huskies and Red Storm collide on the pitch and you have a truly special series between two rivals that target this contest as one with special meaning.  It is great to watch these two battle it out every season.