Francisco Cantero, a former Lancers player and with five years of service coaching here, has been chosen as Pasadena City College men’s soccer head coach for the 2023 season. This is a part-time position at PCC.
Last year, Cantero returned to PCC after a 2-year layoff to be an assistant for the women’s program. In 2018-2019, he served two years as women’s head coach. He also made a stint as a men’s soccer assistant coach in 2016-2017.
As an assistant in 2016, the PCC men’s soccer advanced to the regional finals of the SoCal Playoffs.
On the women’s side, Cantero guided the progress of All-State top scorer Katy Coats as she led the South Coast Conference and finished second in the state in scoring during the ’19 season. Coats was a 2-time, All-SCC First Team selection, and earned a scholarship to the MSU Denver. In her 2-year PCC career, Coats rose to third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 42 goals and 97 points. Cantero coached 2019 All-SCC Team selections in Coats, midfielder Erica Perez, midfielder/defender Jillian Demasi and midfielder/forward Montserrat Menendez.
Sophia Noriega, a forward, also earned a scholarship to attend the University of Antelope Valley.
The ’19 Lancers started the season with an impressive 8-game undefeated streak, including posting the biggest win by a PCC team in 20 years, 11-1 over West Los Angeles.
In 2018, Cantero coached All-South Coast Conference First Team selections in defender Alexxis Molinar. Amanda Aviles and Jocelyn Carranza each were named to the All-SCC Second Team. Molinar moved on to the University of La Verne while Avila transferred to Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.
From 2011-2014, Cantero served as a coach for the Salina Soccer Club in Kansas and then a volunteer assistant coach for the women’s team at Bethany College (Lindsborg, KS). From 2014-2016, he was employed as an assistant coach for both women and men at NCAA Division II Holy Names University in Oakland.
Cantero also has served as an assistant coach at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, helping to direct the girls team to a Mission League title this past season. He is also a girls club coach for Soccer With A Purpose (SWAP), a company that provides private training for individuals and groups at different age levels.
Cantero is a local product from Marshall Fundamental High before attending PCC and playing as a starting defender in his two seasons in 2009-2010. He earned a playing scholarship to Kansas Wesleyan University where he flourished in 2011-2012. He was a two-time Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference First Team selection. In his senior season, he was named NAIA All-American and NSCAA All-Plains West Region First Team. He was the conference Defender of the Year as well.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science at Kansas Wesleyan and then completed his master’s in coaching and athletic administration at Concordia University in Irvine.
Gerry Mora Steps Down as Head Coach After 5 Seasons
Cantero takes over for Gerry Mora, who stepped down after five years as men’s soccer head coach (2017-2019, 2022-2023) in order to pursue training to become a chiropractor.
Last year, he guided the play of leading scorer Esia Matcham, who scored four goals in the team’s season finale.
In 2021, after the men’s soccer program was on hiatus along with the rest of PCC sports for the 2020-2021 calendar season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mora guided the play of four All-South Coast Conference players. The group including First Teamers in center-back Cameron Montano and team-leading scorer Martin Manzanilla.
In 2019, Mora had his best season when he coached PCC to a better-than-.500 season at 10-8-4 as the Lancers finished in fifth place in the state’s toughest league–the South Coast Conference. PCC closed the year on a 5-match undefeated streak and were 2-0-1 in the first-ever SCC Championship Tournament. Pasadena upset then state #2-ranked Cerritos College, ending the Falcons 40-game undefeated streak in a 4-2 win and then tied them 1-1 in the SCC tourney, but the Falcons advanced in the winner’s bracket in penalty kicks.
He guided the play of ’19 All-SCC First Team goalie Stephen Sandoval and team-leading scorer Mario Urbina.
In 2018, Mora coached four All-South Coast players in First Teamers Anthony Jimenez (team-leading scorer) and Lucas Rodriguez as well as Second Team choices Joshua Moran and Alexis Guzman.