Jhon Jairo López, The Chef Who Runs Honduras Progreso

Jhon Jairo López, The Chef Who Runs Honduras Progreso


A bandeja paisa, soup, rice and nothing fried, that is the law in the kitchen of Colombian Jhon Jairo López, whose leaders stand out for their resistance, unity and sense of belonging. He has been directing in Honduras since 2020, and he does so in Progress since 2021, enough time to say “I would like to live here when I retire”.

At 54 years old, the Cali-born coach no longer has any ambition, but he does have a lot of passion, which he mixes outside the home with soccer and inside it with food. Jhon learned everything in Spain, where he trained as a UEFA-licensed coach and earned his degree in Food Processing, but for this he had to sacrifice at work to pay for his dreams.


“To pay for university I had to clean, sweep, put gasoline in the pumps, wash cars, be a security guard at a nightclub and a cook, something that I always liked, because since I was 12 years old I made food for my family, for which I worked in restaurant chains in Madrid”, said a happy Jhon Jairo while peeling potatoes and seasoning his stewed chicken, recalling his 11 years in the old continent where he spent more than 300,000 euros on his studies.

López specialized in sports performance in England for three years and tried to get into the London teams (Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham and Fulham), but the language prevented him, because “old donkey does not learn to speak.” In Colombia he also obtained his coaching degree, as well as in Physical Activity.

– What does a coach with a preparation like yours do directing in Honduras? -, the Colombian DT was consulted, to which he answered honestly: “It is a question that they ask me a lot. I came here because Ricardo ‘Charly’ Zúniga, when he works at Platense, invited me to the project twice, but I accepted the third time. At first they were only going to be six months in Honduras and now I have been here for four years and they have treated me very well, I am very grateful to this country. They have offered me in Colombia to return to direct, but they do not meet my expectations since they do not bet on medium-long-term projects ”.

“I have seen my family four times in the last four years. My wife (Shirley Ocampo) is a dentist and has her office in Colombia. The twins Saray and Esteban are 12 years old and study at a trilingual school; I started being a dad at 42 years old, ”she recounted.

Jhon Jairo specialized in pasta and his best dish is lasagna. At home, a 350-millimeter bag of oil lasts a month, since everything he eats is roasted and grilled. “Between cooking and watching a football match that is not my interest, I prefer to cook. The day I retire, if I have enough money, instead of buying properties I would like to have a restaurant, ”he revealed in his entertaining interview with DIEZ.

Corn, potatoes and chicken cooked the DT of Honduras Progreso for his lunch. Rice is not lacking in your kitchen. PHOTO: Neptali Romero

The DT of Honduras Progreso loves “the chuco chicken but without sauce, the tastiest here are the potatoes and avocado, I still haven’t gotten used to the shots. I have zero sodas, no fried food and very little street food”, he mentions as the team’s physical trainer, Juan Camilo Buitrago, who is also the video analyst for the rice club, comes down from his room.

“Juan Camilo and my technical assistant Jonathan Meza live in this house. When we go to the supermarket we divide the bill by 33% and agree that I will cook, but they will clean the dishes. In my kitchen there will never be a dirty dish, because if I did that when working in Europe they would cut me off from the start”, commented JJ López.

He shared his gift even last week with his soccer players, as he prepared a bandeja paisa for his compatriots Rodin Quiñonez, Deivy Balanta, Jhan Mora and Harold Sandoval, as well as goalkeeper Rafa Zúniga and midfielder Julián “Tierrita” Martínez. This is how he formulates the unity within the institution with which he disputes his fourth National League tournament.

The coffee strategist has known Honduran soccer since 2009, which he defined at the time as “a generation of soccer on the inside, unloading on the outside, bottom line on the wings and center to the area.”

At present, “pitch and change of pace” due to the issue of the noisy courts.

His idol is Reinaldo Rueda, yes, the same one who qualified us for South Africa 2010 and was nationalized as a catracho because of the love he has for us, a feeling of respect such as that shown by Jhon Jairo, whom the former DT of the Bicolor accompanied from the beginning.

“In 1990, Rueda was my teacher in the area of ​​tactics, strategy and game system. In 1996 I became his second assistant at the local Curtuluá. He lived through my entire process from when I went to England and Spain. When I got my degree in Colombia, Reinaldo invited me to the concentrations of the Honduran National Team on the last date of the qualifying round for South Africa. The delegation was staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, on the fifth and sixth floors, I was on the seventh. Although I slept alone, I accompanied them at meals, talks, training sessions, and matches.

“Rueda asked me for a job for the match against the United States (2-3 in the Olympic Games), he sent me to a box to do an analysis of the United States in the first half and when it finished, I gave him the report of what had happened. seen and notes, it was something that he had previously asked me for. It was worth learning to have my idol as a coach; he is one of the leading technicians in Colombia. When I came to Honduras, Rueda recommended me to the directors of Real España, Olimpia and Motagua, so I am well profiled (laughs)”, López related.

The truth is that we were left wanting to try the teacher’s food, because while he was cooking he ran out of gas. A tremendous disappointment that ended in laughter when listening to him give directions to his house for the delivery of the new chimbo.

“I am JJ López, coach of Honduras Progreso, they have already made deliveries here,” “berraco” said well since they did not understand the address of his home.



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