Westmont Magazine From Coach to Commentator
When Allen Hopkins ’95 sneaked out of bed to watch Monday Night Football as a kid, he was most interested in the announcers. “I always wanted to be a broadcaster,” he says. “I did my own running commentary and had a reputation for being a talker. I don’t think I knew how to turn it off!” Recruited to play soccer at Westmont, Allen started on two Warrior teams that went to the national tournament. He majored in kinesiology, covered sports for the Horizon, participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and thought about becoming a soccer coach.
After graduating, Allen went to CSU San Diego to get a master’s degree in statistics and measurement and to work as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team. The experience proved to be valuable: He discovered he didn’t like coaching, and he met his wife, Kimberly, who was a fellow graduate student.
Leaving San Diego, Allen went to work at a soccer magazine in the Bay Area. “I really learned a lot there about journalism, research and organizing my thoughts. It all came together for me.”
In 1997 he started calling local soccer matches for BayTV. “I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do,” he says.
His big break came when ESPN asked him to cover the U.S. men’s national team. Fox Sports Network liked what they saw and hired him in 1998 to do soccer commentary. He has been there ever since. This fall, he also hosted “Running with the PAC,” a weekly Fox show on the PAC-10. “I love college-age kids, and it was great to showcase student athletes at the different campuses,” he says. “Carrying a show is a totally different animal; the learning curve is pretty steep. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.”
While he enjoys professional soccer, Allen hopes to move into college sports. He has already done some radio broadcasts for college basketball games and expects to get some other opportunities. “I’ve had good mentoring from top people in the industry, and I’ve gleaned a lot of wisdom by watching them work.”
Allen liked the small-school environment at Westmont and the opportunity to “learn how to learn,” but he was careful to avoid the “Westmont bubble.” “I was involved in the community and didn’t isolate myself,” he notes. “I didn’t agree with everything at Westmont, but I had great professors who really challenged me, and I got the tools I needed to be a good person.”
When he lived in the Bay Area, Allen realized how much he missed Westmont. Moving to Los Angeles allowed him to get involved on campus, which he enjoys. This fall, he worked with the men’s soccer team as a coach and a mentor, and he hopes to help the college recruit more African-American students from the Los Angeles area. He has also volunteered to do some fund raising for the athletic program. “I have gotten so much from Westmont that I want to give something back,” he says.
Their careers and their two small children keep Allen and Kimberly busy. She serves as the certified athletic trainer for the women’s soccer and crew teams at UC Los Angeles and runs the student athletic trainer program there. The couple attends Encino Presbyterian Church, where they are getting more involved.