Bryan Perez recently reported back from Chile. A trial invitation with a prominent Chilean professional team, Club de Deportes Cobreloa, landed the Menace midfielder in a country full of Pacific coastline, South American flair and soccer.
“The culture was a lot,” said Perez. “The way they take soccer is really serious. It’s a really good soccer atmosphere.”
A week in Chile would be an ideal, relaxing vacation for many, but for this athlete in search of a professional career, there was little downtime.
“In Chile, I basically practiced, ate and slept. It was good to have really experienced guys around me and how they did things, how they ate and trained. The food was really interesting and the way they talk was interesting,” said Perez.
“(The training session) went good, I thought. I talked to the coach afterwards, who said they really liked me. Now wasn’t the right time for me to sign. I’m going to see if in December there is a spot open for me,” said Perez.
The Premier Development League sets up amateur athletes to play at the next level. Iowa’s highest-level soccer team has produced more than 50 professional soccer players, including more than 20 who have played for Major League Soccer teams.
“The Menace organization is serious. They take care of the players, and I like the atmosphere,” noted Perez. “After this, I plan to work on myself to get stronger and fitter. The goal is to play professionally.”
Perez certainly has the credentials to play at a higher level. This former University of Missouri-Kansas City player holds school records in goals (29) and points (70), and continued his career to the indoor professional arena for the Missouri Comets (Major Indoor Soccer League) last winter. He’s also contributed to the Menace lineup this season by scoring three goals in three consecutive games and tallied one assist.
Becoming a professional athlete is what kids dream of. So what is a normal day like to be a Menace player on the fast track to the pros?
“I wake up, eat a good breakfast, go to practice and eat a good lunch. I worry about the food because you got to eat well,” said Perez. “After that I play PS3 (Playstation 3). I like to play FIFA, Call of Duty and NBA. If I’m not playing PS3 I like to watch a movie. Right now it’s Harry Potter to get ready for the seventh one.”
Not only is Perez working towards his own aspirations, but he’s sharing the dream with Des Moines. Menace fans can find him out in the community, working camps and making player appearances.
The buck doesn’t stop with a professional soccer career. Perez holds a laundry list of things to do in his lifetime.
“What’s on my bucket list? I want to learn to play an instrument, probably the piano. I like to sing in the car. Mostly anything from Boys II Men. It gets me out of my comfort zone,” mentioned Perez. “Or play for the Menace organization when they’re in the pros, with (John) Sosa.”
From Chile to Des Moines, Captain Crunch, PS3 and working Menace camps, that’s just another day in the life of future professional athlete Bryan Perez.
Bryan Perez teaches a camper how to do the rivaldo.
Hometown: Miami, Fla. College: University of Missouri- Kansas City Position: midfield Pre-game ritual: Pray for nobody to get hurt and to win. What he brings to the Menace: hardwork, loyalty and experience Favorite team: Saprissa Favorite player: Bryan Ruiz Favorite food: rice and beans Favorite soccer move: the rivaldo Favorite song: macarena (see video below)
Menace interns Jenae Jenison and BJ Stokesbary provide fans with a player spotlight video and story each week.