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: Becky Burleigh    
"I think the whole world thinks the schedule we play now is crazy. It's a physical ...
The Quickest Goal in Bundesliga history    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] The Bundesliga kicked off last weekend and Bayer Leverkusen got off to a ...
Why Totti's not a goalkeeper     
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] The great Italian goalscorer Francesco Totti provided a clip for the ...
D.C. United and Galaxy revive historic rivalry    
[MLS: Week 25]Not since the early years of MLS has a matchup of D.C. United and ...
Red Bulls open with 2-0 victory over FAS    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The New York Red Bulls opened their Concacaf Champions League campaign with a ...
Sauerbrunn wins second NWSL Defender of the Year award    
[AWARDS] FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn repeated as the NWSL Defender of the Year after again ...
Jones ready to try anything to shake up Revolution    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Jermaine Jones will be separated from his family in Los Angeles by more than ...
What They're Saying: MK Dons fans    
"You're getting sacked in the morning." -- The chant by MK Dons fans in the direction ...
What They're Saying: Louis van Gaal & Karl Robinson    
"I am not shocked. Because I know what can happen. A new team is not built ...
Crew defender Gonzalez completes move to Palermo    
[MLS TRANSACTIONS] After just 17 games -- all starts -- the Columbus Crew transferred Costa Rican ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives