Levante UD Soccer

New club coach Rey Lopez introduces himself and gives a pep talk to players before practice Tuesday night at Paris High School.

The Paris United Soccer Club has undergone some big changes recently. The head coach for the club since 2006 was Ramon Torres, and he continues his 13-year reign of the club with new and exciting changes to come.

Torres remains the head coach of the Paris soccer club, and his role will also involve discovering new talent along with helping his soccer club to grow with more teams. However after signing paperwork, he is now the director of the Levante Us at USA Paris Branch along with his wife Sherry Torres as the general manager. In addition to that, Reynaldo Lopez and his program UD Levante along with Ramon Torres and the Paris Branch will be working closely to promote club soccer for all athletes and coaches who are interested in the next level.

Lopez has numerous years of experience with plenty of credibility and accolades to go with it on all levels of soccer. Lopez has coaching experience as an instructor at the Olympic level, and was named the regional competitive coach of the year in 2012 and 2018 in the United States and won the same award in Texas in both 2009 and 2013. Lopez has also coached collegiately and in high school. He is a part of 288 championships on all levels, and he played soccer at LIU Brooklyn University, a Division I school.

Now expanding his program into Paris, the Club is now Levante UD at USA Paris, as Lopez brings his talent and expertise to Lamar County. This has been one of Lopez’s priorities for a while, and to help the youth in this community get more opportunities like those in the Metroplex was appealing to him.

“In the past years, I’ve had experience playing against groups from Paris,” Lopez said. “I see a lot of talent that needs to be developed in the right way. A lot of kids in Paris have to travel so far away to get that same experience, so they would have to go somewhere else.”

Furthermore, Lopez said expanding his program not just to Paris but outside of the Metroplex in general was one of his goals. He said there are already 20 teams in surrounding areas, and he wants as many kids as possible to gain the most opportunities in the sport as possible on both the local, national and even international levels.

“We are a nonprofit organization organized in 2006 and our mission is to get kids to play in college,” Lopez said. “We have put 250 kids through college to play soccer on scholarship. We focus a lot on discipline and respect. We provide the kids with national and international exposure, so they can see and learn different levels of soccer...We want to make sure we develop players with their technique and physical and mental toughness.”

He knows it won’t be an easy task, but Lopez is appreciative of the support he and his program have received and is ready for the journey to begin.

“It’s going to be a process, but we have already started,” Lopez said. “The support we’ve received has been great. We’re really excited and I want to think Ramon and his wife for all the support they’ve given us. They see how the kids can really benefit and grow.”

Lopez said boys and girls from ages 7 to 19 years will be welcomed into his program. He plans to have traveling teams to play both locally and away from Paris. His mission is to train his players with proper techniques and mental toughness through the use of clinics and camps along with his own training and traveling teams.

Ramon Torres and Lopez will be conducting monthly soccer clinics in the near future along with coaching clinics. Lopez said that every coach has to be registered with Levante Academy coaching staff, and that registration information will come in the near future.

The club also wanted to give a special thanks to Paris High School athletic director Steven Hohenberger for his support for the club, and for letting the club use Wildcat Stadium’s field for their presentation on Nov. 5.

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at geoff.heppes@theparisnews.com.

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