January 16, 2002

The return of a sports program to Los Angeles Mission College moved a step forward this week with the hiring of two new soccer coaches, athletic director John Klitsner has announced.

The two coaches are active in the San Fernando Valley youth sports scene and will make excellent recruiters, Klitsner said. Putting teams together quickly to compete in Fall 2002 is a priority, since a sports program has not existed at the Sylmar community college since 1997, said Klitsner.

E.B. Madha, soccer coach at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, has been named to coach the menís soccer team. Shannon Higgins, soccer coach at San Fernando High School, has been tapped to be the womenís soccer coach. Both teams will compete in the Western State Conference.

Before moving to Birmingham High, Madha previously coached at Hart High School in Newhall. He also has spent more than 20 years coaching club soccer, most recently with the West Valley Samba.

"My experience has taught me how to start a program from the ground up, including recruiting of players, fundraising and development of players," said Madha.

In addition to her head coaching duties at San Fernando High, Higgins also was an assistant soccer coach at Moorpark College. She also has organized and worked in various youth soccer programs in Massachusetts.

"I will focus on getting players motivated and dedicated," she said. "Respect, trust and teamwork will be key factors."

Madha is a graduate of the University of Southern California. Higgins holds a Bachelorís degree in education from Westfield State College in Massachusetts.

Budget cuts forced Mission College to end its athletics program in 1997. Since her arrival at Mission College in July 2000, President Adriana D. Barrera has dedicated herself to bringing back sports, at least on a limited basis, so that Mission students may enjoy the full college experience.

Plans call for Mission College to field teams in womenís softball and menís baseball in Spring 2003. A search for coaches in those two sports is underway, Klitsner said.

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((Editors: For further assistance with this story, contact John Klitsner, Los Angeles Mission College athletic director, at (818) 364-7886.))