Soccer star in the making

Soccer+star+in+the+making

April Rios

During the 2011-2012 soccer season, senior Claudia Lopez managed to score at every CIF match while maintaining active in other leagues. Lopez has also played in the Mexican U-20 and the Olympic Development Program.

Julia Ruiz, Sports Editor

After scoring a goal in every CIF Division 5 playoff match, senior Claudia Lopez left her mark in the Viking’s varsity soccer team as one of the team’s best. Her passion, hard work, and natural talent for the European game helped lead her and her team to win the CIF Championship title.

“Claudia is one of our strongest players on the team,” captain Andrea Rodriguez said. “She’s the type of teammate that will pump up the team, and she pushes us to our full potential. She believed in us and she practically led the team to the CIF final.”

Lopez first began to play soccer at age four after her father enrolled her in a local team. Her athletic potential caught the eye of various clubs. At age thirteen, the Olympic Development Program, or ODP, scouted the young, center midfielder. The ODP focuses on teenage athletes who have the talent to train at a higher level and eventually have the opportunity to join the US National Team. In her time at ODP, the CIF champ grew as a footballer, but the birth of her child at age sixteen forced her to sit out for a year and a half.

“I had to be an adult [when my child was born],” Lopez said, “but he motivated me to go back to soccer and get my things together. That’s when I came back to school and joined the JV team.”

A year later, Lopez formed part of the Viking’s CIF Champion soccer team, carrying Godfrey’s girls through the playoffs as she left her name on the scoreboard in every match.

“She did amazing,” captain Jasmine Medrano said. “She was responsible for most plays; she controlled the midfield and provided good passes for us. She was consistent and never gave up.”

The hard work praised by her peers was also noticed by the Mexican U-20 National Team. Lopez is currently playing various tournaments with the Mexican side as tryouts for a spot on the team continues. However, the midfielder is focusing on the present and plans to play soccer at Cerritos College come fall.

“I don’t know about going pro,” Lopez said. “I don’t see myself playing soccer anymore. I enjoy science and want to go into medicine and become a registered nurse.”

Although Lopez’s plans may not be out on the field, her talent and potential have made her a stronger person as she carried out her midfield and motherly responsibilities while juggling her studies and leading her fellow teammates to a CIF victory.