KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An Alcoa High School Spanish teacher and football coach found some attention on Twitter for his Spanish play-by-plays of Tennessee football.
Carlos Lopez began narrating Vols football games this season, after seeing a lack of Spanish coverage in college football and the NCAA. He took action and began narrating from the comfort of his home.
"I was just watching the Alabama game one day and I started saying, 'You know, what if? What if Spanish announcers were announcing NCAA football games?' And I went for it," Lopez said.
After uploading the short clip from his home, it was almost instantly shared thousands of times. Now that video has over 80,000 views on Twitter.
His catchy Spanish football phrases like "Vamos Vols," "Dale Seis," and "Seis mas" are a hit with Spanish and English football fans. His videos remind the public that sports can be a universal language.
He says those phrases derive from the Spanish language and football terms. He explains Dale Seis comes from the six-point touchdown and Gran Naranja, meaning Big Orange.
"I think that the most important part of this whole thing we can see is that despite the separation that we are seeing in our nation, we can see the one thing is that sports unites us all, regardless of the language, whether it might be Spanish or English," Lopez said.
Online, fans said that you don't need to speak Spanish to follow his play-by-plays. His emotions and energy will simply hook you into the game.
"I think passion and enthusiasm and energy is worldwide. And I really appreciate people taking notice especially, the non-native Spanish speakers that are taking notice," he said.
Lopez enjoyment and passion for football come from his personal experience. After immigrating to the U.S from Venezuela, he was introduced to the sport after years of playing soccer.
He traded the soccer ball for a football and pursued the sport during high school and college.
"I went out there to the football field, and then I got hooked," he said. "I love the Friday Night Lights. I love the environment. I love the fans coming out there."
He says that his journey with the sport demonstrates Latino involvement in football.
His successful videos among the audience led fans to ask UT Athletics to hire him and have him in the booth along with other announcers. Many said the request was not a "want," but a "need."
For Lopez, the positive feedback reminds him of all the sacrifices his family made and his experience upon arriving in a new country.
"The first thing that comes to mind is all the sacrifices that my mother went through moving from Venezuela, leaving her comfort, to bring my older brother and myself here to the United States and telling us a long time ago, 'Whatever dream you have, you can make it come true,'" he said. "She's the first person that comes to mind. And whenever I do this, it's kind of saying Latinos can do it as well."
His motivation and mission exceed his love for football but serve as a mentor for thousands of other Latinos in East Tennessee.
"We have a large population of Hispanic students and, and Latino students from all over Latin America that can see that anything is possible — from teaching, to posting something on social media, to even Spanish broadcasting a football game in the United States."
He says his working as a teacher, coach and now Spanish narrator is his way of living the American Dream — a dream that all started in his homeland.