Miguel Soto Named New Head Coach of ELAC Wrestling
by Stephen Morales
East Los Angeles College Athletics has named Miguel Soto as the new Head Coach of the Huskies' wrestling program. Soto takes the reins from recently-retired Hall of Famer Ralph Valle, whom Soto served under as an assistant since 2018. Soto becomes only the 3rd Head Coach in the history of the program.
"We are thrilled to have Miguel Soto take over as Coach of the ELAC Wrestling Program" said ELAC Athletic Director Bobby Godinez. "Coach Soto has learned from the best in Coach Valle, and we look forward to seeing him lead our program into the future."
Coach Soto is prepared to build upon the strong foundation laid before him. "I'm honored to be trusted with the responsibility of preparing ELAC's student-athlete wrestlers to be their best on and off the mat and ensuring they transfer to Universities," Soto stated.
Prior to joining ELAC in 2018, Coach Soto spent 14 seasons as a physical education teacher and head coach of an extremely successful Downey HS wrestling program. Named Long Beach Press Telegram Coach of the Year five times, he led the Vikings to four CIF Championships (2010, 2011, 2015, 2017) and four CIF runner-up finishes (2009, 2012, 2014, 2018). More importantly, Soto was able to consistently graduate his players to the community college and university level, even those students who had no prior wrestling experience before joining his program. Soto also served as head coach of Canyon HS wrestling in Anaheim from 2001 to 2005.
While looking forward to the opportunity, Soto acknowledges the task in replacing Coach Valle. "There is pressure in replacing Coach Valle, he is a California Hall of Fame Inductee Coach," he exclaims. "However, I was fortunate to be under his tutelage the last 3 years as his assistant coach. I have learned a great depth of knowledge regarding wrestling and bring the best out of student-athletes."
As Coach Soto moves into his new role, he will have no bigger supporter then his mentor Valle.
"I've known him since he was 12 years old," said Valle. "As a matter of fact, I had to talk him out of playing baseball, which his dad wasn't too happy about, but now he gives me a beer," Valle states with a laugh. "But Miguel, that's just who he is. He is steady, knows the job, super loyal and real hardworking. Well liked by the coaches and a full-on wrestling guy. He's the best coaching prospect in the area." Valle also adds that, "every good kid he had at Downey, I got all of his seniors."
With the strong backing of a legend like Coach Valle, Soto is ready to keep ELAC wrestling in good hands.
Valle hinted that several of his wrestlers from the 2019 team, which earned a top-10 state finish, may be returning to wrestle for Soto in the fall.