November 20, 1998
San Diego Flash CEO and President Yan Skwara announced the naming of assistant coach Eliseo "Papo" Santos as the team's new head coach replacing Costa Skouras. "Similar to 1998, certain changes were needed to be made and we felt at his point in time it was the best move for the franchise to promote Papo to be our head coach," stated Skwara. San-tos becomes the third lead-man in the franchise's two-year history.
Skwara stated, "This past season went very well. We were fortunate to have Ralf Wilhelms and then Costa Skouras finishing the season with a great winning streak." The team made its first coaching change on July 8, when Skouras (16-7) replaced the Hungary-bound Ralf Wilhelms (8-5). "Nothing more could have been asked from our coaching staff this past year. Both Ralf and Costa worked hard producing good results for us and we wish them the best in their endeavors," continued Skwara.
Santos brings from a player's standpoint, both a professional attitude and an experienced coaching background. "Papo has a very strong background in the game and I am sure that he wants to see the team top this year's performance. I look forward to Papo leading us to an A-League championship," remarked Skwara. Santos said, "I am looking forward to the challenge of leading this franchise. We have accomplished some good things in one year, but I want to get us to the next level."
Santos, 35, began his professional outdoor career with Fronterizos de Tijuana and also with the San Diego Nomads of the Western Soccer Alliance in the late 80's. Papo captained the Sockers Reserve squad for three seasons before going to play for Monterrey in the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL), where he won two championships.
His professional coaching history over the past eight years includes stints as an assistant with Monterrey (CISL) and head coaching duties for Puebla F.C. of the Mexican Professional Indoor League. At the amateur level, Santos was coach for the San Diego Surf and Rancho Bernardo Soccer clubs, Hoover High School and International Friendship Soccer Select Teams.
The first task for Santos will be completing his coaching staff. The team will begin invitational tryouts in January, so the timetable is short. In addition to the tryouts, the Flash is negotiating to play the United States U-20 and U-23 teams as the Arco Training Center in Chula Vista during the month as well.
Santos was born in Mexi-cali, Mexico and resides in San Diego. Currently, he is working with youth gang members in the Hispanic, community to guide them into different school and sports activities. "I feel that it is important to redirect the kids in the right direction, so they can become positive role-models in the community," stated Santos.
The Flash will begin their second A-League season in April 1999. Mesa College's Douglas Stadium will be the team's new home venue.