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Coyote football player heads to Illinois

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Coyote football player Akram Pacheco-Lopez signs his National Letter of Intent to Greenville University in front of his parents Raymond and Linda Pacheco.


Although it took six months after his high school football career ended, Madera’s Akram Pacheco-Lopez found a place to continue his career.


Pacheco-Lopez signed his National Letter of Intent to play football at Greenville University in Illinois.


“It took me a while to get recruited,” he said. “I went on a recruiting website and the coach at Greenville reached out to me by text message. He asked me if I was interested in going to his school. I looked into it and it’s a great school and a great program and I was hooked in after that. They saw my film and saw that I would be a great fit to their roster. I couldn’t turn that down.”


That exchange was in December. Pacheco-Lopez had to wait until his SAT scores were in and he was accepted to the college in April to get a scholarship offer.


“The money was a little pricey because of the out-of-state expenses,” he said. “I qualified for a lot student loans. I don’t have to pay a lot, but I’ll still pay. I’m really happy.”


Pacheco-Lopez said his college coach expects him to be a key player on defense.


“They’ve been lacking there and he sees me making a lot of big plays for them,” he said.


If not for the offer from Greenville, Pacheco-Lopez said he was thinking about joining the military because he wants to be a sheriff’s deputy. Now, he can play sports and become a deputy after that.


“It was a lot of stress of trying to find out what I was going to do after high school,” he said. “It all happened at the last minute. I didn’t know how it was going to come out, but I’m grateful it came out this way.”


Now that he is signed to Greenville, he and his parents can relax.


“My parents were skeptical,” Pacheco-Lopez said. “Now, they are relieved and I can handle myself out there. It’s been a dream of mine to do something like this. Ever since seventh grade, I wasn’t always the best player. I got put down that I didn’t play a lot. I didn’t even play a lot my junior year. My senior year, I balled out. I showed a lot of heart and talent. It is just a dream come true.”


Although Pacheco-Lopez didn’t pile up the statistics most coaches were looking for, he said the Grenville coach saw a lot of potential.


“He said I have a lot of potential and saw a lot of good little things,” he said.


With a future set, Pacheco-Lopez is ready for the next part of his life.


“It makes this summer very memorable,” he said.