ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) — An Alcoa High School Spanish teacher and football coach is pursuing his passion for sports broadcasting in between classes and games.
“During the day I’m either known as Coach Lopez or Mr. Lopez in the classroom, but on the weekends or in the Twitter world or on social media I’m known as Juan Ward,” said Carlos Lopez.
Carlos Lopez, or ‘Juan Ward’ as he is known online in a nod to legendary Tennessee radio voice John Ward, has become the international voice of the Vols thanks to his viral Spanish sports commentary on Twitter.
Lopez graduated from the University of Tennessee after immigrating to the United States from Venezuela. He grew up playing and watching soccer and was inspired to do Spanish play-by-play commentary for the Vols that matched the excitement of the game.
“A lot of people who watch soccer with those Spanish announcers, you know that anytime something happens that high energy that enthusiasm and just anytime anybody scores it’s that big 30 to 35 seconds goal,” said Lopez.
His videos on Twitter featuring his catchy Spanish phrases and energy have been viewed thousands of times.
“Although it is in Spanish, I have gotten a huge following of English speakers that like the Spanish play-by-play and I do like keeping a couple of terminologies in English that way they can understand it as well,” said Lopez.
Lopez said diversity and inclusion have always been important to him, so he is proud to be able to provide a resource to Spanish speakers.
“I’m including my people. I’m including the ones that enjoy American football that may not understand or speak English. Now they have a source that they can come to and listen to the games and maybe be able to understand the game a little bit,” he said.
Lopez believes sport has the ability to unite people and is excited to see his passion project’s far-reaching impact. He recently partnered with local Weigel’s stores to do commercials in Spanish. He will also be doing a Spanish play-by-play for the Orange Bowl on Twitter Spaces.