Getting to know Veronica Perez, one of the newest members of the Western New York Flash
If you take a look at the long resume Veronica Perez has, you will realize that this goal scoring forward has a lot of experience to offer. Since graduating from the University of Washington in 2009, she has played for the U-23 U.S. National Team, the Seattle Sounders (W-League), Saint Louis Athletica (WPS), Stjarnan Women (Iceland’s Ürvalsdeild league) and the Mexican National Team. Now the forward is bringing her goal scoring abilities to the New York Flash.
How do you feel about playing in the NWSL and more specifically playing for the Flash?
I am super excited and feel very humbled for this next chapter in my career. As a competitive athlete you want to play at the highest level and compete with and against the best players in the world. This is our opportunity. I am Flash bound and ready to go! WNY is established, organized and wins championships. I’m ready to train hard, work with my teammates and staff and keep that tradition going.
This is the third try for a professional women’s league in the U.S., what do you think needs to be done in order to make this league successful and sustainable?
Well this time around the USSF will fund and operate the league. This will most likely take some of the financial burdens off of each club. Then the US will also fund the salaries of up to 24 national team players as well as the FMF and CSA funding 16 players each from their federations. So we have three federations coming together to make this work. I also think to make the league sustainable we need everyone from top to bottom all on the same page. We have to be thinking FOREVER-term because we want can’t let this league fail. We need those big time, big name players definitely playing in league but we also need to build an entire team. The product on the field should always be quality. The league has to figure out a way to get these type of players, coaches, managers, etc but also do it so the players can make enough money to live and be sustainable themselves.
There is a great amount of talent in the NWSL, and a good amount of talent coming to New York. How well do you think the allocation process worked out for the NWSL? And more specifically how did the allocation process turn out for the Flash?
It was probably a lot harder to allocate all of us than we initially thought. The league had to consider a lot of factors- player’s preferences, franchises preferences, balancing talent, and positions. We are all players who thrive on competition and we will compete no matter where we play. We were the only team to get six instead of seven players. We got quality, that’s all I can say. I get the chance to play with FIFA player of year, Abby Wambach. She’s a winner, relentless, can score many goals and I hear she’s a great person as well. I’m thrilled to play alongside Carli and learn from her. She’s intelligent and experienced and a steady midfielder. Pam is my fellow companera and she will continue to develop playing here. And I’m excited to meet and play with the Canadian players.
You’ve had a great career in a lot of different places for different teams. Do you like the travel and experience you get from these different organizations or are you looking forward to staying in one place (i.e New York) for a while?
I feel very blessed that soccer has given me many opportunities to travel and experience so many different parts of the world. It’s important to expose yourself and be open-minded to different styles of soccer coaching, tactics, styles of play, players. I am really excited about the NWSL and will do my part so there will be a future in this league.
How was your recent experience in Iceland with Seattle Sounders teammate Kate Deines?
We had a great time exploring a new country and getting the chance to play another season together. Our contract was for only three months so we wanted to get over there and compete. We put ourselves out of our comfort zone and I think we fared well. We won the Icelandic Cup, first time in our team’s history and got to play in the Champions League.
Have any pre-game rituals?
I always put on my left sock and left cleat before my right.
Any particular teams (men’s or women’s) that you enjoy watching/ following?
Barca, ManU, Liverpool
Was it always your dream to play professional soccer?
Since I was five years old the answer to what I wanted to be when I was older … a professional soccer player.
Most memorable moment in your career so far?
Scoring the game-winning goal against USA to automatically qualify us for the 2011 World Cup.
What are your goals for 2013? Make any resolutions?
My personal goal is to keep striving to be the best player I can be. To never settle for mediocrity. to win a championship with WNY Flash. To support this league and keep the dream alive for all the little girls that want to grow up and be a professional women’s soccer player. I want to go Bungee jumping this year.
So when the season starts in a few short months, opposing defenses better be ready for the experience and play making ability that Perez brings to the pitch.
I want to thank Veronica Perez for taking time out of her busy schedule for this interview.