Picture courtesy of Denise Isla www.txfutgol.com
One of the biggest selling points Major League Soccer has in relation to signing players in South America is that you never have to worry about a paycheck coming in on time. In the case of Luis Perea, a Peruvian club's dissolving could give FC Dallas one of the final pieces to becoming an 18-deep team that can compete for MLS Cup. Perea comes from recently shut down Universidad San Martin in Peru and has likely not been paid for his football in the past few months.
What people may not know regarding Perea, however, is the Colombian has quite a bit of American in him. Luis moved to Miami at age 12 as his father, a World Cup veteran with Colombia, moved his family north to the states pursuing coaching opportunities. Perea graduated from Sunset High School in Miami before moving back to South America for his football, while gaining his green card and a mastery of English.
I caught up with FCD's newest signing just minutes after coming on for the second half of FC Dallas reserves' 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in which Perea grabbed an 84th minute game winning goal. I'll have a quick evaluation of what I saw from him in the reserve game recap, but for now enjoy his first words as an FC Dallas player.
Overall thoughts on being with FC Dallas
I’m pretty happy with the decision that I took. There’s a lot of pride for me to be here. I always wanted to play here in this league and now I have it so I hope it’s the best here for me and the team.
You came from a situation in Peru where the club folded basically so is that how you were able to come here?
Yes, exactly but I think it was God willing the situation. I didn’t think it was going to happen like that, but it did, and I’m really grateful for it.
After playing in Peru for a team that folded, how much does playing for a team in MLS with this infrastructure and stadium appeal to you?
Of course it did. It’s a lot of difference. It’s a huge difference, here it’s so organized. Everything they tell you, they do. Maybe in South America they tell you things and get your mind pretty happy but then they don’t deliver, but here what they tell you they do so it’s like you just worry about playing, you don’t worry about anything else. So that’s a big opportunity for me to stay here and really make a difference.
Did it happen pretty quickly? We saw Fernando Clavijo knows your family so how did this all happen?
First, I was in Miami with my family, I went to visit them for two days so Fernando called my dad the day before I got there. Within two days, we agreed to come here, it was really fast.
Down in South America, do you get to watch very much MLS?
Over there they don’t show very much MLS, but I managed to watch online so I’m pretty excited to be here.
Do you know anyone on the team already?
Yeah, I know all the Colombians, they have names in Colombia, they’re pretty good. I know the keeper just from the TV, he’s a veteran and a nice keeper so right now I’m just getting to know everyone and I’m excited.
What kind of qualities do you bring as a forward?
I have good control with the ball, I definitely know how to finish the opportunities that I have, I’m a team player and I sacrifice myself for the team. I’m always playing to win.
How did you feel in this first game?
I felt good, but I just landed today from Peru so it was difficult for me at first, in the first ten minutes I felt my legs pretty heavy but as the game developed, I felt really good. I got to score the goal so that gave me a lot of confidence.
Expectations this year?
My expectations are high. To have a nice season, score a lot of goals help the team win and have the team be in first place at the end of the season. It takes a lot from us to get there because it’s a pretty difficult league.
Where would you say your fitness levels are?
I played an official game in Mid-January. I think I’m pretty close, I was training, it’s not the same as with a team, but I was training by myself. Maybe I would say like 75% or so, I feel very good.