Men’s soccer Head Coach Morgan Cathey brought a distinct coaching philosophy with him when he came to Whitworth, but he also attracted some talent. Senior Eduardo Lopez followed his former assistant coach, Cathey, from California State University Stanislaus to Whitworth University, where he has put his talent to work for the men’s team. “A coach can make a lot of impact on a player,” sophomore defender Spencer Wolfe said. “The ability to come up here and play again for Morgan [Cathey] so they could build on that personal relationship, but also that soccer relationship that they had built, played a big role in getting Eddie [Lopez] up here.”
Lopez redshirted his freshman year, which was common at CSUS, to help the freshmen learn how to play college level soccer, as it is different from playing high school soccer, Lopez said.
Lopez competed in 16 matches and made five starts through his last two seasons at CSUS, a Division II School.
Cathey not only impacted Lopez as a player, but also as a person.
“He’s been the best coach I’ve ever been coached by,” Lopez said. “He’s just a great person on and off the field. If I had any questions, I would go straight to him. I really like his vision, the way he wants his team to play. He [is] always positive. If you did something good, he acknowledged you for it, which makes you want to strive for more.”
When Cathey announced he was taking the Whitworth job in the spring of 2013, Lopez was devastated.
After a year without Cathey as part of his college soccer experience, Lopez contacted his former assistant coach, asking him if there was room for him at Whitworth, to which Cathey said, “Definitely,” Lopez said.
Lopez visited in the spring of 2014 with his father and his sister Laura Lopez, while staying with Whitworth soccer team member Wolfe.
“[When Lopez] came, we went out for dinner… so I got to know him a little bit before the rest of the team did,” Wolfe said. “I thought he was a good fit then, and ever since he came I thought he was an even better fit.”
It is important for Cathey to let the players know that he has their best interest at heart, not just on the field, but also off the field, Cathey said.
“It is important for [Lopez] to know that I care about [him] and that I am going to do everything I can to make sure that he is successful on the soccer field, in the classroom, and more importantly to make sure that he is successful in life,” Cathey said.
This season, Lopez wants to have a senior year in which he gets to fully experience college, as it is his first year living away from his family, Lopez said.
“It was mixed emotions for me. He has always lived at home, [and] didn’t have too much responsibility besides just being a college student and a soccer player. So, I was worried, but I never doubted his capability,” Laura Lopez said. “I was jealous that he did what he did... in a good way, because I wish I would have done what he did. I am extremely proud of him.”
Having a player like Lopez come in and start makes a difference, Wolfe said.
Cathey believes that one of Lopez’ strengths is the ability to step into the midfield and defend a forward or a midfield player that has dropped off in the defensive line.
“I knew that he would enjoy our soccer environment. I knew that he would enjoy the school,” Cathey said.