Frank Gatell, the highly successful soccer coach at Santa Monica High School, has resigned to coach the women’s soccer team at West Los Angeles College.
Gatell guided the Samohi boys team to an undefeated season and CIF and Southern State Regional championships this season. The team had a record of 29-0-1.
Gatell’s teams were nearly as strong in past years. In addition, he supervised eight other coaches among six teams, raised funds and served as a guidance counselor.
West LA College has placed a heavy emphasis on sports since Mark Rocha became the school’s president two years ago.
Using funds from a bond issue the school brought back baseball last season following a 21-year absence, hired a full-time athletic director and an academic counselor, renovated the baseball and soccer fields and last week announced the return of women’s volleyball following a six-year absence, and added women’s soccer.
Gatell will coach the soccer team and Branden Higa has arrived from Loyola Marymount University, where he was an assistant, to be head coach of the volleyball team.
“Coach Gatell brings a wealth of coaching knowledge, ability and organizational skills that will be extremely important as we start our soccer program from scratch,” said West LA College athletic director Steve Aggers.
“Furthermore, we were very impressed with his caring attitude and student first approach as an educator. He is bilingual in Spanish and English and has an impressive background as a teacher, educator and coach.”
Gatell is a graduate of Santa Monica College, where he played soccer in the ‘90s. He went on the University of California and then played professionally for a year in Chile before earning his Master’s Degree in Counseling from Loyola Marymount.
Higa played volleyball at Pierce College, where he was voted the team’s MVP. He then went to Pepperdine on a volleyball scholarship. In addition to playing there he earned a degree in International Studies and Public Relations.