Young soccer star dies weeks after cliff diving accident in Santa Cruz

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The death of 19-year-old Alejandro Lopez of Watsonville was a crushing blow to his family and teammates on the Santa Cruz county Breakers Soccer Club. (KGO-TV)

The death of 19-year-old Alejandro Lopez 19, of Watsonville was a crushing blow to his family and teammates on the Santa Cruz County Breakers Soccer Club.

He died Monday, weeks after a cliff-diving accident in Santa Cruz.

"He'll always be in our thoughts," said Breakers player Isaias Piu. "He'll always be in my heart. Every game that I play is for him."

The director of coaching says Lopez was an incredibly talented player, but that's not how he should be remembered.

"What makes Alejandro special is that he was a fantastic person. I don't know one person who did not like Alejandro," said Breakers Soccer Club Coaching Director Paolo Carbone.

Lopez died from an infection Monday at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek about two weeks after an accident that happened on April 25.

He and his friends were jumping off the rocks by the lighthouse in Santa Cruz. They'd done it before. A lot of people do it, but witnesses say Lopez got pulled under a rip current.

"Another gentlemen, local guy, lawyer, jumped down the bubble trail," said Santa Cruz resident David Dennis. "Stripped down to his underwear, jumped down the bubble trail and pulled him up off the bottom and we put him on my surfboard and took him to the beach."

After the rescue, Dennis realized he knew the young man. He'd played soccer with Dennis' son.

"It's pretty tough, but we gave him a few extra weeks with his family and that feels good," Dennis told ABC7 News.

The San Jose Earthquakes are also offering their condolences. Lopez spent a year in their youth academy.

"Had enormous talent," said Chris Leitch of the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team. "But was an even better guy for sure."

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help Lopez' family.

Click here to donate.
Related Topics:
sportssoccerSan Jose EarthquakesaccidentmedicalteenagerSanta Clara
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