By Aaron Valdez
With the start of the season less than one month away, Pasadena City College alumnus Francisco Cantero was named interim head coach of the Lancers women’s soccer team.
“It’ been a personal goal for myself,” Cantero said. “Since I went through this community college path, I told myself that I wanted to be a head coach at a junior college and help the women.”
Cantero is a homegrown talent who grew up playing soccer for most of his life. He attended Pasadena’s own Marshall Fundamental High School and then went on to make the soccer team at PCC where he exceled manning the Lancers’ backline.
His standout play at the community college level earned him a scholarship offer to Kansas Wesleyan University. It was there where he went on to become an NAIA All-American and the conference defender of the year during his senior season.
Although this is Cantero’s first time being a head coach at the collegiate level, this is far from his first rodeo. Since 2011, he’s been a coach at Salina Soccer Club in Kansas, a volunteer assistant coach for the women’s team at Bethany College, and an assistant coach at Holy Names University for both the women’s and men’s team.
Cantero has set out to ensure that his players get the full experience of being a full-time college athlete because he understands that some of them do want to play at the next level. Along with the high-intensity training sessions, Cantero said he also wants to incorporate regular meetings with the team to establish a strong basis of communication and focus in on their goals.
In terms of play style, Cantero prefers a hybrid of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, two of the world’s biggest soccer clubs. While he does stress the importance of retaining possession, Cantero also wants his team to be just as lethal on the counterattack.
Despite playing in competitive conference, Cantero is determined to have a winning record and possibly make it to playoffs being that the women’s team hasn’t qualified for the last couple years.
“We’re in a very tough conference but those are the goals that we’ve set and we just have try to make those things happen,” Cantero said.