Santa Barbara, CA – The UCSB & SBCC women’s lacrosse clubs are hosting the Inaugural Santa Barbara International Friendship Games March 8th – 10th at the UCSB Recreation Center sports complex stadium. Meiji University and Nihon University from Tokyo are the guest teams. Additional participants include the NCAA DIII programs from Claremont, Chapman and Colorado College as well as WCLA D1 and D2 teams UCSB, University of Colorado, Cal State Fullerton, Marymount College, SBCC and UCSB B, respectively.
The event is a mix of league games and international friendlies. The UCSB men’s lacrosse team is also getting in on the action when they host UCLA on Saturday at 1:00pm and University of Texas on Sunday at 4:00pm. Meiji and Nihon both arrive in Santa Barbara today and will practice at UCSB Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for their frendlies against American teams. The UCSB & SBCC clubs are going all out to make the Japanese teams seem welcome, including hosting them in home-stays on Friday and Saturday nights as well as purchasing UCSB Recreation Center day passes for them to be able to use the facility and renting the turf stadium for the friendlies and the neutral site games.
“These teams have come from all the way across the Pacific Ocean so we’re really paying attention to treating them in a first class manner while they’re here,” said UCSB head coach Paul Ramsey.
The event is a twin of sorts with the original Japan Lacrosse Association event of the same name. The JLA has been running the Friendship Games since 1989.
The local academic side of UCSB has responded well to the event. Numerous professors are hosting the Japanese university students on Wednesday and Thursday night in their homes. Local Santa Barbara Lacrosse Association board members and some of Ramsey’s neighbors round out the hosting group for Wednesday and Thursday home-stays.
The games start on Friday when Nihon takes on SBCC at 1:00pm at UCSB. It is the first international contest for the Vaqueros women’s lacrosse club. Action continues all weekend with games through 7:00pm on Friday evening, all day Saturday and most of the day on Sunday. Admission is free and parking in Lot 30 off Stadium Road at UCSB and walking over to the turf stadium field from there is recommended if you’re coming from off campus.