Toro Athletics Director Keeps His Eye on the Ball With Home Depot Center and AEG Partnership
Patrick Guillen has been an integral part of the California State University, Dominguez Hills athletics department since 1995, as the director of athletic media relations, assistant athletics director and finally, director of Toro Athletics. His tenure on campus has included an NCAA Division II men's soccer national championship in 2000, hosting the NCAA Division II Final Four women's soccer championship, and first- and second-round NCAA Division II men's soccer championships. Most significantly, the public relations expert was instrumental in the negotiation process that brought a world-class sports venue to campus three years ago.
As the L.A. Galaxy and The Home Depot Center raise the bar for soccer in Los Angeles with the arrival of superstar David Beckham, Guillen reflects on the worlds of academia and professional sport and how both can benefit from a collaboration that celebrates winning both on the training field and in front of the fans.
Toro Athletics has benefited in several ways from The Home Depot Center. We have world-class soccer and track facilities for our teams and new baseball and softball venues that are a major upgrade from our previous facilities. We also were able to acquire a new floor for our gymnasium as a result of this partnership. The Home Depot Center and AEG have also been supportive in terms of partnering and sponsoring special events such as our annual scholarship golf tournament and our inaugural Monte Carlo Night, both of which raise money for student scholarships.
Prior to AEG’s arrival on our campus, Toro Athletics was already on the map. Our programs, including baseball, basketball and soccer had great reputations. Our success over the years in many of our programs laid the foundation of viability and credibility in intercollegiate athletics, but the addition of Major League Soccer and our joint-use facilities has only enhanced this. Having The Home Depot Center on our campus has increased the level of visibility for our sports programs, bringing my coaches even more leverage in terms of recruiting. In many ways, it has helped solidify our credibility and visibility not only in the South Bay but throughout the state.
Having the L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA in residence at The Home Depot Center gives a significant amount of exposure and notoriety to the campus in general. But specifically for intercollegiate athletics, having a world-class sports facility and two MLS teams in our backyard and practicing on our facilities is a tremendous asset.
David Beckham’s highly anticipated arrival in Los Angeles will bring unprecedented notoriety and exposure not only to the MLS but U.S. soccer in general. This translates into a major financial windfall for many vested interests that were instrumental in Beckham’s arrival. But even more importantly, the sport is hoping this will translate into long-term sustainability and future support by the American sports culture. There is no doubt after observing his official presentation on July 13 that Beckham’s fame and star quality has followed him and wife Victoria to Carson and this is likely to touch down in a big way with more local, regional and national youth teams playing and focusing exclusively on soccer, which will bode well for that sport in the long run.
Educationally, AEG and Cal State Dominguez Hills learn from each other on a regular basis within our partnership. In order to be successful, partnerships need constant two-way communication and certain levels of understanding, respect and trust that assure that we are looking out for the best interest of both entities, not just our individual concerns. We have made good strides and are continually working on this and looking positively into the future. We have met recently with the L.A. Galaxy in terms of how we can collaborate and cross-market our products more effectively to elevate the interest on campus and within the community. We look forward to having this same type of meeting with Chivas USA.
On a daily basis, we collaborate in terms of scheduling, facility usage and exchanging ideas that can make us become more effective in these areas. Our partnership has evolved much in the past four years and it will continue to evolve in a positive way in the future. This will especially ring true if we continue to focus on our common goals and work together to find further common ground that will mutually benefit us all.