Almost four years after Elfredo Lopez died of cancer, his son Pedro Lopez is doing well both in soccer and school as a Greater Lawrence Tech sophomore.
He credits his dad and “Beyond Soccer,” a Lawrence-based program that helps local youths develop into better athletes, students and leaders, for his success.
“My dad always wanted me to take soccer to the next level and I take that into consideration whenever I play so I try my hardest in every game,” said Lopez who added that the Beyond Soccer coaches knew his dad well.
“They knew he couldn’t help me out much and they would do for me what he couldn’t,” Lopez said.
Lopez is the do-it-all Reggie. He plays both goalie and striker. He scored three goals and made eight saves to lead Greater Lawrence 6-0 over Innovation earlier this month.
He typically starts games playing goalie and will move to striker if the Reggies build a comfortable lead.
He seems to have inherited the versatility trait from his dad.
“When he played, I would see him play wherever he was needed,” Lopez said about his father.
Elfredo, who died in December 2010, had played in an adult soccer league locally.
“I’d go with my father to the soccer field and watch him play,” Lopez said. “Once in a while he’d take me to a park and kick a ball around. It was always just school, soccer and then home.”
Lopez said his dad was sick for about a year.
He added, “It progressed from a tumor located in his stomach that turned into cancer for a while undetected.”
Lopez joined “Beyond Soccer” back in 2007.
“They’ve helped me out a lot,” Lopez said. They’ve helped me with school and I’ve progressed with them.
“Beyond Soccer always taught me that school comes first before any sports,” Lopez added. “When they saw I needed a little help in school when I was younger, they would get me tutors.”
Flash forward a few years. Now Lopez is the one helping others.
“My individual goal (this soccer season) is to help train other (teammates) to get to a level where our team could be a little more competitive with everyone else, to be able to catch up to everyone else and be able to compete with all our teams in our league,” Lopez said.
Lopez enjoys playing striker more than goalie. But he didn’t hesitate to volunteer to play goalie when his team needed one.
“I want to take soccer as far as I can get with it,” he said. “I want to go to college to play soccer.”
Wiggins to Harvard
Central Catholic senior Alli Wiggins knew early in the college search she wanted to attend an Ivy League school, so she visited Princeton, Columbia and Harvard and participated in on-campus soccer clinics.
“I went to a Harvard clinic last August,” Wiggins said. “It was a three-day (event) and at the end of the clinic, the coach approached me and said, ‘We want you to come on a visit.’”
The rest is history. Wiggins will play soccer for the Crimson next fall.
She won’t be the first member of her family to attend the prestigious college. Wiggins older sister, Shanna Wiggins, graduated from Harvard last year.
“She actually did ballet at Harvard,” Alli said. “So we’re very different and very similar.”
Wiggins took AP Chemistry and Calculus last year. She is taking AP Literature, Psychology and Statistics this year. She hasn’t decided on a major yet.
“I find Neurobiology really interesting so that’s what I’m leaning toward,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins and the Raiders are 3-0-2 so far this season and have allowed just one goal.
“We’ve only played five games and we’re a really young team still,” Wiggins said. “But I think we’ve had some great results and we’re still getting better every single practice, every single game. So I think if we keep improving like we do, then we can definitely go very, very far this season.”
Owls help youth
The Timberlane boys and girls teams held a soccer clinic for 50 Timberlane youth soccer players this past Wednesday.
The high school players wanted to give back to the community and the youth soccer program. Most of the Owls players participated in the youth soccer programs when they were younger.
“The coaches took advantage of the opportunity to remind their players that being involved in athletics is measured by far more than wins and losses,” Timberlane boys coach Mitch Mencis said.
Haley’s heroics in net
Windham senior forward Haley Psareas, who scored six goals last year, started in net Friday with sophomore goalie Jenna Parsons day-to-day
Psareas was extremely impressive considering it was her first ever high school start at keeper. She stopped 11 shots but the Jags lost 1-0 to Hollis-Brookline.
She had played goalie during the second half of a game earlier this year.
“She’s aggressive, smart and takes good angles,” Jaguars coach Matt Bryant said. “I saw some of her softball skills diving for balls. It’s interesting how that translates.”
Follow Christopher Smith on Twitter @SmittyOnMLB