Bailey Lopez Reunites With Sister At Shorter University


Fabiola Lopez

During the 2016-2017 season, Emily and Bailey Lopez were both able to win a state championship for McIntosh. In the fall, they will both be a part of the same soccer program yet again, trying to win the soccer programs at Shorter University a championship as well.

Kamryn Torr, Editor In Chief

For senior soccer player Bailey Lopez the past year apart from his sister, Emily, has been difficult, especially with the stress of senior year and trying to plan for his life after high school. Emily graduated from McIntosh last May and is currently playing for Shorter University’s women’s soccer team. After a hectic year of ID camps and trying to figure out where the best place is for him in the long run, Lopez has officially decided to become a part of the same soccer program as his sister. “I think it’s going to be so good to have a piece of home with me at college, especially with both of us playing soccer,” said Emily. Lopez will be continuing his soccer and academic career at Shorter University in the fall. “This is a dream come true,” said Lopez. “We really grew up like twins and it was difficult to spend this last year apart. I am excited to compete alongside her again.”

His love and passion for the game has only grown. “I really love competing,” said Lopez. “I love when every player becomes competitive and starts getting super stuck in. When everyone is going super hard into tackles and playing quickly, I feel like I enter a different world. The super high paced matches or scrimmages are the best part about playing soccer.”

From playing recreational soccer back in second grade, Lopez’s soccer career has come a long way. Lopez began playing at a more competitive level in fifth grade when he joined AFC Lightning, which is a club soccer team located in Peachtree City. Although when he first began playing he played center back, he has played about every position possible, but currently plays forward or midfielder.

Lopez’s biggest inspirations come from prior and current coaches at AFC Lightning, Josh Villalobos and Steve Muccillo. “My club coaches have really made me fall in love with the game of soccer,” said Lopez. “Coach Josh Villalobos and Coach Steve Muccillo were two coaches that definitely stood out and have inspired me to keep playing at the collegiate level. I want to thank them for the impact they had on me.”

Josh Villalobos, current soccer coach at Southern Soccer Academy in Coweta county, coached Lopez during his time at AFC Lightning. “Bailey’s soccer talent is undoubtedly evident for everyone to see, but for me personally his passion, work ethic, and respect for the sport, coaches and teammates have been memorable,” said Villalobos. “Shorter University has not only received a great soccer player, but an outstanding young man.”

Alongside of playing club soccer, Lopez also plays soccer for McIntosh. His freshman year, after making the junior varsity (JV) team, he suffered a concussion and was unable to play. The following year he made the JV team again, but was later pulled up to varsity in the middle of the season. Lopez has been on the varsity team since being pulled up his sophomore year.

After playing soccer for so long, and it becoming more of a lifestyle than a sport, Lopez always felt that if there was a school that wanted him and gave him an opportunity, he’d play at the collegiate level. “I have always wanted to play soccer at the highest level possible,” said Lopez. “It was never really a big decision I made. It was always just a given that I would go on and play in college if I had the chance.”

Any athlete that has been through the recruitment process knows how difficult and stressful it can be to try and stand out from hundreds of other players. “The recruiting process was not a very fun thing to go through,” said Lopez. “It is difficult to get coaches attention when there are so many other players who want to play in college. Finally committing was a big relief, it feels great.”

Prior to committing, Lopez had visited the university several times before. He was able to see the campus last year when moving his sister into the dorms, but also was able to get a feel for the campus in February when he had a Presidential Scholarship Interview. He was able to spend the night at the university, which helped him in realizing what it would feel like to attend Shorter.

“I picked Shorter because it ended up being the cheapest option by far,” said Lopez. “I also knew my sister was there and that would make my transition into college life much easier. I also hope to get playing time at Shorter as a freshman, which was not an option at some of the other schools I was considering. They did not have the best season last year, but I hope to come in and make a huge difference this fall.”

Going into the program next year, Lopez realizes that he is going to have to work for playing time as an incoming freshman, but knows that in the long run it will make him a better soccer player. “One of the biggest reasons I decided to go to Shorter is because I know I have the chance to make a big impact coming in as a freshman,” said Lopez. By attending Shorter, Lopez hopes to become faster and stronger, so that he can adjust to playing against faster and stronger opponents.

Being able to play the sport they love for as long as possible is every athletes goal, including Lopez’s. This upcoming summer, he will be practicing with Costa Del Este FC, which is a professional team based out of Panama City, Panama. “I hope to impress some coaches there and make some connections,” said Lopez. In the long run, Lopez also aspires to someday represent his home country, Guatemala. “I know these are lofty goals, so I will have to work hard to get better,” said Lopez.