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West Valley City Journal

Online profile, hard work helps Hunter soccer player sign to play at Texas Permian

Jun 23, 2017 11:31AM ● By Greg James

Hunter High School graduate Whitney Lopez has signed to continue playing soccer at the University of Texas Permian Basin. (Darren Lopez/Soccer booster)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

Hunter High School graduate and former varsity soccer standout Whitney Lopez has made a name for herself and forged her way onto a Division II college soccer team.

Lopez has signed a national letter of intent to continue her soccer and academic career at the University of Texas Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas.

“I was told I might have the potential to play at the next level. My parents helped me set up a recruiting profile on a website, and I found a place that wanted me,” Lopez said. “I was contacted by Lindsey Garcia at Texas Permian Basin, she needed a goalie and liked that I do CrossFit training too. I am glad to be going to Texas to play in the heat and glad to have finished playing in the rain of Washington.”

She graduated from Hunter in 2015 and went on to Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash. for junior college.

She was recruited to the Red Devils as a relatively inexperienced keeper. She did not begin playing the position until her junior season at Hunter. The regular Wolverines keeper was injured and she volunteered to fill the position and never gave it up.

“When I changed over to goalie in high school I saw lots of shots at me. I think that helped me to adapt to the position. Being a goalie is crazy sometimes. You get put at risk and jump in front of the ball,” Lopez said.

At Lower Columbia, she played her freshman season primarily at keeper. She recorded 145 saves and had four shutouts. As a sophomore, she had 23 saves in six games before being moved to a midfield position.

“Whitney has tremendous work ethic. She will run through a brick wall if you asked her to. Desire to play and do anything has always been her strong point,” Red Devils head coach Harlan Cruser said.

Cruser said he was looking for a goalkeeper to help fill out his roster. He ran across her online profile and contacted her. Her recruiting profile was a deciding factor in her finding a place to continue her career.

Many players use athletic websites to help promote their talents. The recruiting process has evolved drastically in the last few years. College coaches do not have the time or budget to travel from state to state looking for talent. Online has become a great place to expose a player’s talent. The website Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) boasts 42,000 coaches using its database to help them find possible connections.

“She expressed the desire to come up here and check us out. I was fortunate to have a spot for her and it fit for us both. Utah has been a good spot for us to find talented players,” Cruser said.

Lopez again used an online profile to attract the connection in Texas.

“Periman is a growing program and has a potential to win a bunch of games. I will have a red-shirt year and am excited to get there,” Lopez said. “I feel like playing a Hunter was a good experience. I would not have been able to play college soccer if it was not for my experience at Hunter.”

Lopez said the online profile was important, but she knows that nothing replaces hard work on the field. 

“Coaches will see what your desire is,” she said.