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To the victors go the spoils, and following a 2-0-1 start to the team's inaugural United Soccer League season that has caught plenty of attention, Las Vegas Lights FC Head Coach Isidro Sánchez has been named the league's Coach of the Month for March.
Sánchez, who coaches the club alongside his father and Lights FC Technical Director Chelís, earned the first Coach of the Month honor the league has awarded this season as a result of a vote by the USL National Media Panel and the USL Technical Committee. Each group makes up for 50 percent of the vote.
"Obviously, winning the Coach of the Month is not an objective for me - It's just a consequence of the effort of the team," Sánchez said. "Victories can be lies. As a coach, I give the same effort when we lose as I do when we win. The effort of the coaching staff is always the same. I remember once at a press conference, when they told a famous coach 'Congratulations, you prepared very well this week, so you won today,' he said 'When I lose, I prepare exactly the same, with the same effort.' That's a very important thing to remember."
"This is a direct testament to our entire soccer operations department, led by Chelís & Isidro," said Lights FC Owner & CEO Brett Lashbrook. "While only a small accomplishment when compared to our club's on-going larger aspirations, it is great to see Lights FC achieve this success in the first month of our inaugural season.
"I love witnessing the successes had by both Chelís & Isidro early on in Las Vegas following an exhaustive, comprehensive coaching search where we sought out non-traditional candidates and aimed to break the mold."
Sánchez received 29 percent of the poll to finish just ahead of Sacramento Republic FC’s Simon Elliott, who came in second place at 25 percent. Charlotte Independence’s Mike Jeffries finished third with 21 percent of the vote.
Lights FC's hot start to the season has included a thrilling 3-2 opening night victory on March 17 on the road against fellow expansion side Fresno FC, a 1-1 draw a week later in the home opener at Cashman Field against in-state rival Reno 1868 FC on March 24, then a 2-1 come-from-behind, upset victory against Swope Park Rangers on March 31.
Following an early break in the schedule that saw the team have no match last weekend, Lights FC returns to the home pitch at Cashman Field Saturday night at 8 p.m. for a crucial Western Conference showdown with undefeated Sacramento Republic FC (3-0-1, 10 points). Tickets are still available, starting at just $15, at LightsFC.com/SingleTix.
"The difficult part is not getting to the top of the mountain. The tough part is staying there. Now that we have shown who we are, it's important to maintain it. We have to improve, be creative, be more convincing. This honor is more than a prize - It's a challenge for this coaching staff and this team. This is just the beginning for us."