Born in Guatemala, Marvin Lopez moved with his family to Madison, N.J., when he was 14. A talented soccer player at Madison High School, he was recruited by Drew, where he majored in Spanish literature and minored in business management. “I felt it was the right place for me,” recalls Lopez. “I wanted to be a student and not just a number.”
His first year was not what he expected it to be – in a good way – and it set the stage for his overall experience as a student-athlete at Drew. “I thought that coming in I would be just another member of the team. I realized quickly that the support by the coaching staff was amazing and my teammates were very supportive, too,” remembers Lopez. “It went from being, ‘Well, I am just going to see if I can make it and see how I can adjust to the transition,’ to, ‘Wow, this is amazing. I can actually be a part of something really great here,’ and it motivated me even more.”
In his four years at Drew, Lopez played in 77 soccer games under Head Coach Lenny Armuth. Until this year, Lopez was one of only six players in Drew men’s soccer history to earn All-American honors. Lopez is also one of just two players in school history to earn First Team All-Freedom Conference honors all four years.
With 68 career goals and 152 career points, Lopez ranks second in Drew history in both categories. For number of goals in a season, Lopez’s 20 goals in 1995 place him 6th in school history, and his 19 goals in 1998 place him in a tie for 7th. He also is tied – with himself – for 7th highest points in a season, with 43 in both 1995 and 1998.
Lopez helped the Rangers capture the 1998 Middle Atlantic Conference Championship and earn a berth in the 1998 NCAA Division III National Tournament. He was the 1998 Freedom Conference Most Valuable Player. “The last year we had a lot to accomplish and we had a goal,” remembers Lopez. “It was an incredible experience.”
Lopez’s experience at Drew had a “tremendous impact” on his life. The opportunity to meet people from all over the world, the soccer team trip to Ireland and his study abroad experience in Spain all prepared him for the real world. His relationship with Coach Armuth was also a very influential one, as the coach “went the extra mile to connect with each player. He was patient with us and very supportive at all levels.”
Currently residing in Visalia, Calif., Lopez is the manager of new teacher development for the Tulare County Office of Education. He will also be completing a dual MA degree in Human Resources Management and Business Administration from the University of Maryland in December 2012.
In addition to work and school, Lopez is the founder and director of the Sequoia Gateway Soccer Program, which he started in 2005. This non-profit scholastic-based soccer program is designed as a platform for underrepresented students to be exposed to higher education opportunities. With the goal for students to complete high school and continue on to higher education, Lopez assists students in developing solid academic skills off the field as well as strong athletic skills on the field. The program also guides students through the college and financial aid application process as they research colleges and plan visits. Lopez is rightfully proud of the program, which was highlighted in 2007 and 2009 by ESPN for Hispanic Heritage Month. He enjoys sharing his experiences and encouraging his players to explore their options for a college education.
When he is not preparing new teachers or inspiring his soccer players, Lopez and his wife, Amalia, a high school English teacher, have a son, Sebastian (7). While Sebastian “plays all sorts of sports,” Lopez laughs with pride that “soccer seems to be his favorite.”