By John Philip Wyllie
It is unusual for any high school freshman to gain a spot on a varsity soccer team. To then break into the starting lineup is rarer still, but that is exactly what flank midfielder, Allie Lopez did last season for the Poway Titans. The perennially powerful Titans advanced to the CIF Division I semifinals a year ago. This year, they hope to go even farther. Tuesday’s 5-1 drubbing of defending Mesa League champion, Bonita Vista indicates that they might be ready to challenge for a coveted CIF title.
“My (personal) goals this season are to become a better all-around player, work on my speed and develop better vision on the field. Our team goal is to win a CIF championship. And I think that is realistic. We have a very good team.”
As a flank midfielder, Lopez is constantly in motion. You will see her breaking out on the left wing and using her speed to bring the ball up the sidelines so that she can get into position to make a well-placed cross.
“Allie has great skills on the ball and the ability to cross the ball from her outside midfield position,” said Poway coach, Jen Lalor. “She scored some huge goals for us last year at critical times and she scored one today, but in general she gets more assists than goals.”
Playing soccer is nothing new for Lopez.
“I began playing at the age of three at the North County Soccer Park in Poway. Then I played competitive soccer from about eight until now, always playing on good, high level (club) teams. I was happy to make this team last year as a freshman because at that time I was coming off surgery to repair a shattered bone in my foot.”
Lopez, most of her career a center midfielder had to learn how to play on the outside for the Titans.
“I really like it a lot now that I have adapted to playing it. Sometimes I still play center mid, but (at this point) I like playing on the left side better because I am blind in my right eye and (playing there) makes it easier to see the field.”
As productive in the classroom as she is on the soccer field, Lopez maintains a 3.8 G.P.A. while taking a rigorous load of honors classes.
“My goal is to get a Division I college soccer scholarship to a school somewhere in California. Cal Poly will probably be my first choice.”
Lopez is considering a career in either opthamology or business.
“I would really like to become an eye doctor,” Lopez said. “I was born with a cataract, so I’ve learned a lot about (the profession) already because of what I have been through.”
As good as Poway’s team is now, it should only get better. Composed of mostly highly skilled underclassmen, the Titans have the opportunity to grow together over the next two years. Always in the hunt for a CIF title, don’t be surprised if they land one. And maybe sooner rather than later.