BERKELEY – California finalized its men’s soccer coaching staff for the 2014 season when it promoted volunteer assistant coach Javier Ayala-Hil to assistant and brought back former player Evan Sassano as a volunteer assistant coach, head coach Kevin Grimes announced on Friday.
"This is a great day for our program,” Grimes said about his staff. “Javier is a former student-athlete who played for Cal from 2005-07 and was part two Pac-12 Championships and four NCAA appearances, including a run to the Elite 8 in 2005. He was a great forward during his tenure at Cal and will provide great insight to our current student-athletes both on and off the field. Evan was part of a great family soccer tradition at Cal. His older brother Luke and younger brother Eric also played for Cal. He was as solid and reliable as it gets as a defender and embraced all of the defending details during his tenure as a player and it's quite evident in his coaching now. We couldn't be more pleased with our entire assistant coaching staff, having all been former Cal players."
Ayala-Hil played for Cal and Grimes from 2004-07. A forward, he played in 69 games and collected 19 goals, nine assists and 47 points while at Cal. Ayala-Hil later played professionally for FSV 63 Luckenwalde (2010-11) in Germany and Bayamon FC (2008-09) in Puerto Rico. He spent the 2013 season as a volunteer assistant, helping lead the Bears to their first ever No. 1 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and a quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a 14-5-2 record.
Sassano was a member of the Golden Bears from 2006-09 and was a teammate of Ayala-Hil for two seasons. The Orinda, Calif. native appeared in 53 games, starting 40 over his four year career at Cal. A key fixture in defense for the Bears, Sassano was a member of two Pac-10 All-Academic teams and finished his career with three assists. Following his time in Berkeley, Sassano played for FSV Luckenwalde alongside Ayala-Hil and most recently with the NSC Minnesota Stars of the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Cal’s coaching staff now consists of Grimes, Ayala-Hil, Sassano and goalkeeper coach Henry Foulk.