Los Angeles Soccer: Rafa Moran

JC: Bond links Mt. SAC, Cerritos coaches

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
6:40
AM PT
The state's junior college soccer championships kick off Friday morning at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. Mt. San Antonio men's coach Juan Sanchez is seeking a second successive title. Cerritos women's coach Ruben Gonzalez is aiming for his third trophy in four years.

Their link goes far deeper than that.

Sanchez was a midfield creator and Gonzalez a backline anchor for Cal State L.A.'s men's team in the early 1990s -- a breeding ground, it turns out, for outstanding coaches.

Ruben Gonzalez
Kelly Kwan/Courtesy of Cerritos CollegeCerritos College coach Ruben Gonzalez.

They're among several Golden Eagles from the era, all prodigies of former Mexican national-teamer Leo Cuellar, who have gone on to guide title-winning teams, and the jobs they've done this year -- no matter what occurs this weekend -- have been among their best.

Sanchez returned just five players from last year's champions for what was supposed to be a "restructuring" campaign. His Mounties are 17-1-4, ranked second in the state and fourth in the nation, and one victory -- Friday morning at 10 against Northern California's West Valley College (16-4-2) -- from an opportunity to defend their title on Sunday.

Gonzalez's Falcons (22-1-2) have more experience but are somewhat of an underdog, forced to knock off the nation's Nos. 1 and 3 teams to reach the final four. They're no favorite at Canyons, either: NorCal powerhouse Santa Rosa (17-0-5), the state's lone unbeaten side, is their foe in Friday's 4 p.m. semifinal.

The other games: Canyons (16-5-2) vs. Fresno City (15-4-3) in a men's semi at 1 p.m., and San Bernardino Valley (17-1-3) vs. Fresno City (19-2-2) in a women's clash at 7 p.m.

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