Watsonville's aspiring pro soccer player Alejandro Lopez 'had that magic'






What: Earthquakes Academy vs. Santa Cruz Breakers Academy.

When: 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Avaya Stadium, 1123 Coleman Ave., San Jose.

Cost: Free parking and tickets. Minimum $5 donation to Lopez’s GoFundMe page recommended.

Details: gofundme.com.

SANTA CRUZ >> Even when he was 9 years old and making his club soccer debut, there was something remarkable about Alejandro “Alex” Lopez.

At first glance, it was his height. He was by far the smallest player, even among a field full of pee-wees. Then it was his talent. Finally, it was his smile.

“When Alejandro showed up, he was the shortest player. I was like, geez, this kid is tiny. Let’s just get through this practice,” said Mark Hogenhout, who coached the Santa Cruz County Breakers U10 team in 2008. “Then, we were finding out — as my assistant coach and I would say about certain players — that this kid is special.

“He had this energy to him — a smile on his face when something good happens out on the field,” Hogenhout added. “It would bring the whole morale of the team up.”

That smile faded May 8. Thirteen days earlier, while hanging out with friends near Lighthouse Point, Lopez, 18, dived off the cliff and into the ocean, where he lost consciousness. He regained consciousness over the next few days but ultimately died at the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek of a massive infection.

SOCCER TALENT

Lopez, of Watsonville, will be remembered as a singular soccer talent who…

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