With books in hand, backpack slung over one shoulder and tired eyes, Cristian Lopez walks across FC’s campus. Dedication, determination and boldness radiated off of the football player. From the second he showed up, it was obvious that this guy meant business.
Lopez has loved the sport for a long time and after dreaming about it, he was finally able to put on a college football jersey. This would be a huge deal for anyone, but being able to balance personal goals as well as football makes it so much sweeter.
For many, football may seem like just a hobby or past time, but football was not Lopez’s only love growing up. He also loved baseball, but as he got older he realized that football could actually be beneficial to his life.
Lopez has loved football for as long as he could remember and it was all thanks to his brother.
“I was influenced to start playing football because I saw how good my brother was at it,” Lopez said. “He even got scholarships and his college tuition paid off because of it. If he could excel at it, I could too.”
Being young and in college can make it tough for anyone to focus on the bigger picture in life. Lopez realized quickly that if he wanted to get through school and be in football, he was going to have to start working as if he was going to win a Super Bowl ring.
His determination is obvious to everyone around him, especially to those that matter the most. His cousin, Juan Carlos Lopez, realizes how serious Christian is about getting far in life.
“Cristian is a hard worker and he’s definitely dedicated,” Juan said. “He always does what he’s told to do and does it right. I never hear him complaining.”
Lopez is a full-time student, defensive line player for the Hornet football team and works late shifts at In-n-Out.
Working in the food service industry is never easy but Lopez manages to see the bright side of his situation.
“I have definitely enjoyed my time working here and it is such a great company to work for,” he said. “It’s nice to have somewhere where my coworkers and managers are willing to work with my hectic schedule.”
Lopez is also a father of three-year-old daughter Gia, who was born his junior year of high school and is his biggest motivating factor.
“The reason I play football is also because of my daughter,” Lopez said. “She’s my biggest inspiration to be successful in life.”
Having a child so young in high school is never an easy task. Going to college and working at the same time just adds to a tough equation but Lopez shows that he is fully capable of taking on all of these challenges head on.
His other cousin, Josh Lopez, radio broadcasting major looks up to him and knows how much of a hard worker he is to maintain all of this happening at once.
“I think it’s kind of endearing that Cristian continues to try and earn a starting spot,” Josh said. “He is doing all this while trying to take care of his daughter, working lots of hours and trying to earn a degree. There is no doubt in my mind that he will get everything he has worked for.”
Lopez has shown that not all college kids are immature and irresponsible. He is a man working to achieve everything he has wanted and has worked for all of it himself.
His aunt Rosie Lopez, had nothing but kind words about her nephew.
“Cristian is a hard worker and always has been and I am so proud of the person he is today,” she said. “I have total faith in him that he will go so far in life. He has already proved so much and I know he is just going to keep doing great things.”
Lopez has no plans to stop aiming for the stars anytime soon. If measured by his work ethic, drive and determination, there is no doubt that he is on the right path to reach his goals and go far in life.