Championship Coaching Staff Retained For 2021/22
The San Diego Sockers today announced the retention of their full coaching staff for the 2021-22 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) season. Five-time champion head coach Phil Salvagio returns to the bench, with assistant coaches Rene Ortiz and Miguel “Chiky” Luna by his side. Victor Melendez returns as the Sockers’ goalkeeping coach.
“We are confident the staff we have assembled is as good as any in our sport,” said club general manager Sean Bowers, “We came together as a club and as a coaching staff last year in the playoffs, and look to carry that momentum into another championship campaign in 2021-22.”
Head coach Phil Salvagio, 50, returns for his 13th season on the Sockers’ bench, one short of Ron Newman’s franchise record for longevity. Under Salvagio’s guidance, the Sockers won four consecutive Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro) championships from 2009-2013, including a U.S. professional team sports-record 48-match winning streak from 2011-13, a streak yet to be surpassed. Salvagio won Coach of the Year honors in 2010-11 and 2011-12 when the Sockers were a perfect 24-0 across all competitions. In 2018-19, Salvagio guided the Sockers to a 23-1 regular-season record, earning his third Coach of the Year honor, and first in the MASL. In his combined PASL and MASL coaching career, Phil Salvagio has a regular-season record of 175-42 (.806%), and a playoff record of 26-11 (.703%). Salvagio was a goalkeeper for the Sockers from 1994-96 in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL).
Ortiz, 52, was the top bench consultant to Phil Salvagio as the Sockers captured the 2021 Ron Newman Cup, going 6-1 through the playoffs while defeating Tacoma, Florida, and Ontario en route to the MASL championship. The season was an especially trying one for players and coaches, as all 17 games of the regular season and playoffs were played away from San Diego. It was Ortiz’s fourth top-division championship with the Sockers, having earned three rings as a player from 1988-90. In addition, Ortiz is the head coach of the Mexican National Indoor Soccer Team, having led the squad to a perfect 7-0 record and the 2019 WMF World Cup championship in Perth, Australia. Ortiz also reprises his role as the head coach of SDSockers2, where he led the club to a 12-0 record and the MASL2 championship in 2018-19.
Luna, 41, was a four-time champion midfielder with the Sockers from 2009-16, before retiring and joining the front office as Director of Player Personnel, a job he has held for six seasons. He joined his longtime friend Salvagio on the bench full-time in 2019-20, and begins his third year as an assistant coach. Luna is also the co-owner and president of CaliFino Tequila.
Melendez, 55, enters his fifth year as the Sockers goalkeeper coach. He brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience including holding a USSF "A" Coaches License. After playing two years professionally in Mexico, the Guadalajara, Mexico native has been coaching for the past 30 years. His credentials include being Cal-South Instructor, Region IV Goalkeeping Coach, ADOC Crusaders coach, USSF Regional Instructor, assistant coach at Atletico Baja, 2019 WMF champion Mexican World Mini Football Federation assistant coach, and on the staff of the San Diego City College soccer program. In addition to soccer, Victor studied Mechanical Electrical Engineering in college.
The Sockers open the defense of their 2021 Ron Newman Cup championship on December 11 in Tacoma, before returning for the Home Opener on Sunday, December 19. Season ticket memberships and single-game tickets are available for sale at sdsockers.com, or without fees over the phone at (866) 799-GOAL.