Lake Tahoe Community College has hired coaches for its intercollegiate soccer program, the school announced Wednesday.
The LTCC Board of Trustees formally approved the hiring of Benjamin Wade as the men’s head soccer coach and Christian DeLeon as the women’s head coach at its Wednesday meeting.
The coaches will begin work immediately, according to a press release.
“The focus of the hiring committee was to find two people who would create a sustainable, successful, and exciting program as a whole,” Dean of Student Services Sue Saia stated in a press release. “Even though we have two individual teams, we view the men and women players as members of one LTCC soccer program. Ben and Chris are the best coaching staff to lead us forward. Their individual strengths and experiences will provide the program with a solid foundation and the diversity needed for success.”
Wade has served as a head college soccer coach for the past 17 years, according to a press release from LTCC. He most recently served as the head cocach for the men’s and women’s teams at Lassen Community College in Susanville, where he coached the men’s team to the Golden Valley Conference championship in 2013. Wade started at Lassen in 2002, where he launched the women’s soccer program. In his first year he went 23-3-0, and lost the Final Eight of the California Community College Tournament, finishing with a No. 6 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. In its most recent season, his team was ranked as high as No. 3 in the NSCAA Junior College Poll and finished with a No. 17 ranking and a 19-2-1 record.
Wade also coached soccer at Simpson University in Redding, where his 1998 team was ranked No. 2 in the nation. He next went to Patten University in Oakland, where he built the women’s program from scratch and was named conference Coach of the Year in 2000, the release stated.
Hehas also coached in the NCAA at Southwest Baptist University, where he led the team to national rankings in every category between 2005 and 2009.
Wade has a B.A. in Business Marketing from the University of Tennessee and a Masters in Music from UNR.
He was also a contestant on CBS’s reality television show, “Survivor: Tocantins,” in 2009, and has appeared on two more “Survivor” shows since then.
He’s also the co-founder and current artistic director and conductor of the Susanville Symphony.
“I have truly been waiting for the past four years to see Lake Tahoe Community College start its soccer programs!” Wade stated in the release. “This is a soccer community, and this sport will thrive at the college. I plan to make an impact on not only the community, but on each and every student who studies here. I plan on enriching the campus goals and infusing these young men and women with life lessons they can use long after they leave the soccer field.”
Christian DeLeon has made a strong impression on South Lake Tahoe’s soccer community since moving to town in 2000, the release stated.
He is a native of Guatemala, and was raised in Chicago where he played soccer and volleyball in high school and was a member of the third-place state soccer team. He played club ball with one of the nation’s best boys club teams, Sockers F.C. Chicago, winning several club championships with them.
While earning his B.A. in History at Northland College in Wisconsin, DeLeon was a player on its national championship-winning team.
His love for coaching first began while working with a local youth team in Yokohama, Japan.
Since moving to Lake Tahoe, DeLeon has been both an assistant coach and a head coach at South Tahoe High School, where he’s won multiple state championships with the boys and girls teams. He has also been recognized as the NSCAA’s Coach of the Year twice.
DeLeon has volunteered many hours to the success of high school, club, and American Youth Soccer Organization programs in South Lake Tahoe.
He’s excited about more options being available in town for local soccer players, and he has nothing but kind words for the Board of Trustees and Administration at LTCC for “being able to see the vision for the sport of soccer in our community. Many students locally, nationally, and abroad now have an option to continue being an athlete,” the release stated.
“They come to us with a lot of experience at the high school, club, community college, collegiate, and international level,” PE Instructor and Acting Athletic Director Tim Johnson stated in the release.
“They have been very successful in their programs from a competition standpoint, but also from an academic standpoint. They’ll be able to recruit student-athletes to our college and teams, but also be able to help those student-athletes transfer and play at the four-year schools.”
Athletes who are interested in being a part of the new soccer program at LTCC can visit ltcc.edu/web/new-students/athletics-soccer and fill out an online form with some basic information for the new coaches.
The appropriate coach will make contact shortly thereafter.
Community members who are interested in learning more about the soccer program or are interested in supporting the LTCC Friends of Soccer Booster Club should contact Johnson at 530-541-4660, ext. 557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations to the Booster Club can also be made online through PayPal on the College’s soccer webpage.