Santa Clara University Soccer aims to defend title as NCAA Women's College Cup returns to Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- One of college soccer's biggest tournaments returned to the South Bay Friday night.

The eyes of the College Soccer world once again falls on the Bay Area as Santa Clara University plays host to the 2021 Women's College Cup.

"It doesn't get better," San Jose Sports Authority Exec. Director John Poch said. "The South Bay is the epicenter of American soccer. This is the sixth college cup that we're hosting in the South Bay. The first one was back here in 1995 at Santa Clara University."

26 years later, here we are again.

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The host committee of the West Coast Conference and San Jose Sports Authority welcomes back the tournament to historic Stevens Stadium at Buck Shaw Field.

"Our history and legacy of women's soccer in the greater Bay Area is just so strong and amazing," West Coast Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevarez said. "I mean, back with the 99'ers and Brandi Chastain and everything they've done here has really set us on a path that this next generation has followed through with."

This next generation will feature four of the best teams in the country.

Rutgers, Florida State, BYU and the home team, the Santa Clara University Broncos who will try and defend their turf as they look for a second straight national title.

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Coming off of an upset over top-seeded Duke, Coach Jerry Smith and his Broncos return to the College Cup.

The stands will be packed tonight with a sold-out crowd watching as the hometown Broncos try to defend their title.

After winning it all last year in a bubble without many fans in the stands, this is a special opportunity for the program.

"Santa Clara Women's Soccer won that for themselves, and this year, it's a bigger picture," SCU Director of Athletics Renee Baumgartner said. "They want to win it for Santa Clara University and this community. Again, I just cannot be more proud of their efforts just to bring home such great pride to this university."

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The 2021 College Cup actions starts tonight and you can watch it all on ESPN U. The College Cup kicks off with Florida State and Rutgers facing off in the first matchup at 4.p.m. Santa Clara and BYU will play tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Tonight's games are sold out, but tickets are on sale for the championship game in Santa Clara on Sunday.

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