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Coach Marine Cano Leaving Cal State Dominguez Hills : Soccer: UC Irvine hires away veteran administrator to direct its program and coach women's team.


REGION — "Mr. Soccer" is leaving Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Marine Cano, a recognizable figure in the Southland soccer community, has been named director of soccer and head women's coach at UC Irvine. He had been director of soccer and coach of the men's and women's teams at Cal State Dominguez Hills since 1985.

He also served as coach of the California girls' under-19 Olympic Development team and directed camps that attracted more than 1,000 youths this summer.

"We're very excited about bringing in an individual of Marine's abilities," said Dan Guerrero, who was athletic director at Dominguez Hills until taking the same position at Irvine in 1992. "He's a proven recruiter, a proven fund-raiser, and he's done a great job of administrating two programs. And he's had success at every level he's coached in."

At Dominguez Hills, Cano's women's teams have been ranked in the top 20 in each of the past six seasons. The Toros won the NCAA Division II title in 1991. From 1984-88, the women's team competed on the Division I level and compiled a 48-30-10 record. They were ranked eighth in the nation in 1986.

"It's definitely a loss for us," Dominguez Hills Athletic Director Kay Don said. "He brought us a national championship. We really are disappointed that we're not going to have him anymore, but we also know it's a good step for him and he's really excited."

Cano, 39, says his goal will be NCAA championships for the men's and women's teams, and he will work with men's Coach Derek Lawther toward that end.

"I'll be an extra set of hands and extra set of eyes for Derek," said Cano, who played for the California Sunshine in 1979 when Lawther was coach. "I'll offer specialized help with coaching and help recruit. I want to find out what he needs and then start working together to get it done."

Cano realizes that coaching may be the easy part. Fund raising, always a tough job at Irvine, will be a key to the soccer program's failure or success. If the Anteaters hope to compete with the nation's top teams, much of the money for scholarships will have to come from fund raising.

"I already have a lot of great contacts in the soccer community, but you don't just go out asking for money," Cano said. "My players and I will be out in the community, giving clinics for players and coaches, letting them know we want to help them. You have to give something if you want to get support in return.

"This isn't a 9-to-5 job. You have to find the time every single day to hit on all the reasons you were hired. It's not going to be easy. But soccer has been my passion for a long time, and beyond my family, it's my life."

Cano, a former goalkeeper, was a member of the 1976 U.S. national team and played nine years of professional soccer. He served as an assistant coach at Cal and UCLA and was head coach at El Camino College.

Times staff writer Irene Garcia contributed to this story.

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