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07 Jan 2020
“I have never regretted making the choice to represent the US national team“
The US captain discusses his beach soccer career, achievements and allegiances
Nick Perera has become the talisman of the USA’s beach soccer squad over the last few years. Since bursting onto the scene in 2011, his many honours include two-time Concacaf Top Scorer, being shortlisted for Player of the Year for the last three seasons and winning the 2016 Goal of the Year award.
He has also captained the side since 2014 and is now the US' all-time top scorer in beach soccer. He may be the most recognisable face in the team, but Perera could well have had a beach soccer career over in Europe.
The USA winger was born in Madrid, Spain to an American mother (Dione Lamm) and Spanish father (Prudencio Perera) on 5 June 1986. He spent most of his childhood in Belgium and speaks five languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and French.
In 2005 the family moved to the US where Nick could attend university and play football, and his younger brother Lucas, who has Nonverbal Autism, could receive more efficient care.
“I graduated from the University of California - Santa Barbara with an English degree.” Nick explains. “My first ever international beach soccer experience came at the Miami Cup in 2011. It was an incredible experience, representing the country, and competing against Spain was a moment I’ll never forget.”
You might expect playing against your country of birth to provoke a doubt of allegiance, but not for the Stars and Stripes’ captain…
“I was never tempted to play for Spain, because the opportunity was never there. I stumbled upon Beach Soccer because the US national team offered me an opportunity to play.”
“It just so happened that Spain was at the first tournament I played in. I have never regretted making the choice to represent the US national team.”
“Since the Miami Cup, I’ve been lucky enough to compete in two FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups, four Concacaf Qualifiers and represent my country in numerous memorable and amazing tournaments all over the world. Put it like this: in 2011 I would have never guessed I would still be at it now in 2019.”
Many beach soccer players have jobs alongside their careers on the sand, and Nick Perera is one of them; who would have guessed that it would be in football?
“I am the Head Coach and General Manager of the Tacoma Stars professional indoor soccer team, and the Director of Coaching (Technical Director) for the San Marcos Revolution.”
Since the end of 2018, the US have risen four places in the Official World Ranking into 16th but their skipper admits that “the US still has a lot of growing up to do in the Beach Soccer world.”
“The only way I see it advancing is by following the incredibly successful models around the world: creating domestic leagues, cultivating an extensive player pool and mainstreaming the sport into popular culture.”
Ever the family man, Perera knows exactly who motivates him most in his career. “My biggest influences are my family. My wife Michelle, my daughter Sofia and my son Theo are my biggest supporters, and they’re what keep me going.”
Beach Soccer Accomplishments: US Captain since 2014, Concacaf Champion, 2x Concacaf Top Scorer, Beach Soccer Goal of the Year 2016, included in the Top 50 Players in the World (2017,2018,2019), most goals in US Beach Soccer history.