Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Sacrifice pays off for Rio Grande Valley's Lopez
by Paul Kennedy, December 19th, 2012 12:33AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  chivas usa, college men, mls, under-20 world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[THIRTEEN FOR '13] Some soccer hotbeds go unnoticed. They might lack a pro club, a major college program or a big-time youth club. One such area is the Rio Grande Valley area in South Texas. It took a move from Mission, located on the Mexican border across from Reynosa, to Austin, where he attended boarding school, and then to the University of North Carolina for Mikey Lopez achieve national notoriety. Only a sophomore, he is considered the top midfielder in the college ranks and could go as high as the No. 2 pick in the MLS SuperDraft if he signs a Generation adidas contract.

Under new management with little knowledge of the college scene but a stated goal to emphasize its Mexican roots, Chivas USA holds the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft with which many expect it to take Lopez.

The 5-foot-8 midfielder was the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011 when he helped North Carolina win the NCAA Division I title. He was named a third-team All-American as a sophomore in 2012 for the Tar Heels, who lost to eventual national champion  Indiana in the quarterfinals.

Lopez, who is currently with the U.S. under-20 national team in training in Florida, was born in Dallas but moved to Mission when he was 1. In eighth grade, he moved to Austin to enroll in the St. Stephen’s Soccer Academy at St. Stephen's Episcopal School.

He played in Austin for Lonestar Soccer Club and later Classic Elite, a pair of Development Academy clubs, and made his international debut with the under-15 national team in 2008 after trips to Mexico and Costa Rica with ODP teams the year before.

Lopez traveled with the U.S. under-20 national team to Spain for the Marbella Cup, where he started in midfield alongside Luis Gil of Real Salt Lake, Benji Joya of Mexican club Santos and Marc Pelosi of Liverpool's U-21s.

Lopez is one of the players from the Rio Grande Valley who have made it. Martin Ontiveros played on Akron's 2010 national championship team and is now a junior at Furman. Victor Garza, 20, has been on the fringe of the Tigres' first team in Mexico for more than a year.

"The talent here is amazing, we can play anywhere," Lopez told Rio Grande Valley Futbol. "But I think it’s a discipline thing and wanting to be there, determination, all the self-sacrifice. I know there’s a lot of people that want to go there, but they don’t do all the extra work that they need to get there. If everyone would sacrifice a little more or be a lot more determined, they can get anywhere they want."

Lopez says there were other players who were better than him when he was growing up.

"I’m one of those kids that didn’t have the most talent on my team," he said, "but my hard work and determination, and all the sacrifices I’ve made, that’s helped me get to where I am right now. I’m sure a lot of kids here can do it, but they have to start with themselves first, and the parents have to help them also."

THIRTEEN FOR '13:
4. Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls U-17/18s-signed with New York Red Bulls)
3. Andrew Farrell (Louisville)
2. Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina)
1. Wil Trapp (Akron-signed with Columbus Crew)



3 comments
  1. Kraig Richard
    commented on: December 19, 2012 at 8:37 a.m.
    That an ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011 who helped North Carolina a huge soccer college win that years NCAA Division I title...gets an MLS offer says a great deal about the level of play in our school system. Why wasn't he invited to emigrate from America for a chance to play football? How can a colonial soccer offer be considered a fair and just reward for one of our best soccer colleges best soccer players?

  1. Casey Prince
    commented on: December 19, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
    Such an interesting story. I've spent a lot of time in the McAllen/Mission area and it can be a rough place. Pretty impressive that a collection of great players has come out of there. Really impressive to hear Lopez's comments about what has set him apart. That's a great lesson to young players, no matter where they are from. Kudos to Lopez and his hometown.

  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: December 19, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.
    Hey Paul...Speaking of the U-20's, do you think we'll qualify for Istantbul in 2013? So far we're 0-1. Let's go US! Let us know your predictions!


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Felix Magath    
"I merely suggested it could be worth trying the old wives' tale of applying quark cheese ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS Week 28] There's a new team atop the Power Rankings as the streaking LA Galaxy ...
NYCFC and Orlando City will draw for player slots    
[MLS EXPANSION] Representatives from New York City FC and Orlando City, the two 2015 MLS expansion ...
What They're Saying: Nasser Al Khater    
"The only question now is when, not if. Summer or winter, we will be ready." -- ...
D.C. United is on verge of clinching    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Preview] MLS's four U.S. entrants are all in action in the Concacaf Champions ...
Olsen is still MLS's youngest head coach    
[MAKING A LIST] Almost four years after being named D.C. United head coach, Ben Olsen is ...
D.C. United rewards Olsen with multi-year extension    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Head coach Ben Olsen, who survived D.C. United's horrific 2013 campaign, the worst in ...
Valeri volleys a golazo on the run     
[VIDEO PICK: MLS Goals of the Week] Portland's Diego Valeri looks set to garner his third ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] No. 6 Washington rebounded from allowing an early goal to beat USF, 2-1, in ...
Howard gaffes cost Everton dearly at home    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Everton's defensive troubles in the English Premier League continued as it dropped a 3-2 ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives