TERRELL, Texas — Francisco Lugo began his soccer career when he was twelve years old after sustaining a hand injury playing middle school football. Despite never expressing interest in soccer, he soon realized his natural talent for the sport, earning a spot on the Terrell High School varsity team all four years of high school.
Lugo’s humble beginning with soccer now has him traveling across the world to Montevideo, Uruguay for a one-month try-out with four Division 1 professional teams. Lugo recently signed a contract with a Levante United agent, one of the top professional teams in La Liga.
“Francisco was one of the best players at the draft at our Levante United camp last May,” stated an October Facebook post written by Lugo’s agent, Rey Naldo H. Lopez. “Francisco is the fourth player to be signed this month.”
Lugo, who graduated from Terrell High School in 2019, was a Center Back and team captain for the Tigers. During his time as a Terrell Tiger, Lugo was named Newcomer of the Year, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, three-time First Team All-District, Second Team All-State Defender, and Team MVP. He and his teammates made school history when he helped lead the Tigers to the Regional Finals of the state playoffs in 2018, the furthest the Tigers had ever made it in the tournament.
“My experience playing for the Tigers was incredible,” Lugo said. “It was a great experience each year setting new records for Terrell High School.”
Lugo, unlike many athletes who make it to the professional level, never played club soccer. His experience consisted of only recreational teams and playing at the high school level for Terrell High School coach, Joe Stephens.
“Coach Stephens has been the biggest influence in my journey,” Lugo shared. “He taught me everything I know about soccer, and if it were not for him, I would never have this opportunity. He made me a better player and captain for the team.”
“Francisco is truly one of the greatest people I have had the privilege of coaching,” Stephens said. “He is a hard worker and very coachable. I am extremely proud of him.”
Lugo leaves for Uraguay on Friday, November 8 to participate in a one-month try-out with professional soccer clubs including Fenix, River Plate, Juventud, and Racing. Lugo hopes to land a roster spot with one of the clubs in the draft in January 2020.
“To make a team would be life changing,” Lugo said. “I know it would make many people proud, and I would be happy to represent Terrell.”
Congratulations Francisco on this incredible opportunity. Good luck in Uruguay.