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Lilavois Becomes Player/Head Coach, Will Play Versus KiXX

February 22, 2008 - Major Indoor Soccer League 2 (MISL 2) - California Cougars News Release

Philadelphia, PA - The California Cougars, of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), announce the reactivation of forward Bernie Lilavois to their active player roster. Lilavois has been given permission by the MISL to become a player and head coach similar to Don D'Ambra of the Philadelphia KiXX.

"Our current string of injuries is the reason why we've been forced to make this move," said Lilavois. "Naldo broke his nose against New Jersey and won't be able to play tomorrow in Philadelphia. I'm adding a player to the team to fill our full 20 man roster and it just happens to be me. My main focus to remain as the head coach of this team as we enter the final 10 games of our season."

Defender Ryan Hall, forward Chris Handsor and midfielder Craig Scheer are all questionable for Saturday's game. Hall suffered from migraines during California's morning game against New Jersey on Thursday. Handsor has been slowed by a nagging hamstring injury throughout the season. Scheer left before the fourth quarter of Thursday's game because of back pains.

"After the long losing streak I mentioned to him that he might want to get back in shape," said Cougars co-owner Jim Rachels. "We've had so many injuries this season and we've tried to fill our needs with new players. We didn't think adding another new player to our system was a good idea this late in the year. He's a great option for us; he knows the system better than anyone."

Lilavois had a goal and an assist in his final game as a player last season. Fittingly, his final game was played against the KiXX in Philadelphia on February 7, 2007. He finished the 2006-07 season with 12 two-point goals and a team leading 19 assists for 43 points. Nicknamed "The Bolt," Lilavois amassed 423 goals, 241 assists for 889 points in 360 MISL/NPSL/CISL/WISL career games. His professional indoor playing career will now enter its 16th season. Lilavois was the first ever player signed by the Cougars before their inaugural 2005-06 season.

"The good thing about him returning is his experience," said assistant coach and defender Antonio Sutton. "You can't find that type of experience by just signing a new player. He's going to have some challenges as a player/coach, but he'll be able to handle it. We lost one target and he will fill that role for us in the game against Philadelphia and for the rest of the season."

The Cougars play the Philadelphia KiXX tomorrow night at 4:05 p.m. PST. California (8-12) is currently six games back of first place Milwaukee and is the eighth seeded team in the MISL. The top six teams make the postseason. Philadelphia has lost three straight games and is a half game above the Cougars in the standings.

Saturday's game is available to listen to both online at www.californiacougars.net and on 1420AM KSTN in Stockton.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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