Putting the Stars on the Spot

1.Rodrigo Lopez, Midfielder, San Jose Earthquakes

Justin Godsey: Welcome to the 1st ever interview here on, On The Hot Seat today we have Rodrigo Lopez who currently plays soccer in the MLS and plays midfielder. Over the past 6 years Rodrigo has played soccer in the MLS for Chivas USA and as well as the Portland Timbers, Rodrigo has also played soccer down in Mexico and California until being resigned by the Timbers this past year. Please enjoy the interview with Rodrigo Lopez and welcome to On The Hot Seat. Please read the personal questions to Rodrigo later on in the interview.

Justin Godsey: Tell us how you got into playing Soccer

Rodrigo Lopez:  My Father played some pro soccer in Mexico, so since i could walk my father placed a ball on my feet. My first soccer team was at age 4 at a local Boys N Girls club.

Justin Godsey: Growing up did you watch Soccer at all? if you did what team and why?

Rodrigo Lopez: I grew up watching Mexican soccer and of course some european soccer. Chivas was my favorite team growing up so i wouldnt miss a game on TV. Eventually when i took trips down to Mexico i would go to stadiums and watch live.

Justin Godsey:  At the age of 2 your parents moved to the USA and moved to Santa Barbara is Santa Barbara a big soccer city?

Rodrigo Lopez: Santa Barbara is a big soccer city. Proven with the UCSB Gauchos attendance.

Justin Godsey: Going through your High School days have you ever dreamed on becoming a professional Soccer Player?

Rodrigo Lopez: Not just through High School, i always dreamed of becoming a prof. soccer player. Many kids growing up didnt really care about soccer, it was more like Basketball, baseball, or football. For me it was Soccer. Never played any other sport at school.

Justin Godsey:  In 2007 your chance of becoming a pro Soccer player came true when you signed a contract with Chivas USA what was your parents and your reaction to making it?

Rodrigo Lopez: My first Prof Contract was at Age 16 (2005) with Chivas Guadalajara. I had to leave school after just finishing up my sophomore year. I would be leaving my family. It was a tough decision for me but at the end of the day it was the best decision i ever made. I dont regret it one bit. Chivas Mexico is the biggest club team in all of North America! being  part of the organization was a dream come true. Teamates with now the best players in Mexican soccer. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Marco Fabian de La mora, Carlos Vela, etc.  To answer your question, Leaving Home at such a young age was hard for my parents but at the same time they were very proud of me.

Justin Godsey:  When you appeared on Chivas USA field how nervous were you to play in your 1st MLS Game?

Rodrigo Lopez:  Down 3-0 Vs DC United MLS cup champions. I was terrified! hahaha. Also, the best moment in my life. I thank the whole Chivas USA organization for giving me that opportunity and to coach Hans Westerholff. This was a good year for me i also became part of the USA youth national teams. Winning MILK CUP in Ireland and being called to most of camps. Representing your country at any age or sport is dream come true.

Justin Godsey:  In 2008 you joined the Ventura County Fusion how excited were you to join the squad?

Rodrigo Lopez:  To be honest i didnt know what to think of it, i had just been waived by Chivas USA and i needed to stay in shape so i contacted coach Graham Smith and he was delighted to take me on board. Ill tell you what though for a PDL club these people know what they are doing. THey are on top of everything run things the way a profesional team should be ran.

Justin Godsey: You scored your 1st Pro Goal with Ventura how did it feel getting your 1st goal?

Rodrigo Lopez: Don’t quite remember that first goal but i had a good season with them. I was able to get lots of minutes which i think i needed.
Justin Godsey: During your tenure there how has Head Coach Graham Smith help you?
Rodrigo Lopez: Coach Smith  was phenomenal. Always positive with me, always pushed me in a positive way. He has helped me keep my career going. Coach Always gave everyone a chance to show what they can do, if they performed he helped them get to bigger better stages. Im was very fortunate to have landed with Ventura Fusion. Coach Smith till this day is the person helping me with my career.
Justin Godsey: You played for a short time in Mexico tell us about your time in Mexico playing
Rodrigo Lopez: Playing in Mexico was a great experience for me. It was a horrible start! I was lied to many times before i left US to go play in Mexico. I was told i would be making great money for it being a 2nd div team and i would play 1 season there then send me to First div team. When i arrived things wernt what i expected. I was offered a contract. With season starting in a week and having no other options i signed. I was able to get valuable min in a very competetive leauge. Athletes have it very easy here in the US, being 2nd div in mexico is a struggle. I was highest payed player on my team. It would kill me to see some of my teamates not have food to eat sometimes because they would backtrack our pay. At one point we went 3 months without a receiving a penny. It was a wake up call for me! I never wanted to go through that again. I learned not to trust people when then promise you the world.This year  Made me a better person and player.
Justin Godsey: From Mexico you moved your way back up to Ventura County to help win the 2009 PDL Championship and won the

MVP award, How big was it winning the MVP Award adding that to your Soccer Resume?
Rodrigo Lopez: HUGE!!! I had already went to Portland for trial weeks prior to the Championship game. They had liked me but i think that MVP award put the Iceing on the cake. Coach Graham Smith told me the News after we won the Championship that i would be joining the Portland TIMBERS. Not a bad night at all 🙂
Justin Godsey: What is next for Rodrigo Lopez in 2012 ?
Rodrigo Lopez: As of now im free agent. I was called in By San Jose Earthquakes to Camp, but i picked up a minor injury before so as of now I am getting healthy and soon as im 100% i will be joining San JOSE earthquakes for Pre season. Its the worst feeling in the world for a soccer player. Being injured not being able to do what you love the most is tough. I have to stay mentally and physically prepared for what comes my way. But Rodrigo Lopez Soccer career doesnt end in 2012 there is lots more to come.

Personal Questions:

Justin Godsey: How do you keep in contact with fellow fans?

Rodrigo Lopez: I try to stay contact via. Facebook or twitter. Try to keep people updated with what im doing what goes on in my life.

Justin Godsey:  Do you play the Fifa Games? If so do you play as yourself ?

Rodrigo Lopez: Yes i play Fifa. I dont play it much but i am Good at it. I dont play with my own character. Usually when im home in the Off season is when i play the most against my brother. My record against him is legit.

Justin Godsey: What is the hardest team you faced in the MLS?
Rodrigo Lopez:  I would have to say that DC United team in 2005. Had some ballers!
Justin Godsey: Do you watch other sports? If so what is your favorite teams?
Rodrigo Lopez: Big LAKER Fan. Remember people there is only 1 show in LA and thats the “LAKESHOW”
Rodrigo’s Final Sendoff: Big thank you to P3 Elite Training! If you want to become a better athlete P3 is the place to be.
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One response

  1. Tom

    Great interview Justin! Can’t wait for more!

    January 28, 2012 at 1:13 am

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