Wenatchee FC just completed their first season in the Evergreen Premier League in 2014. The club was founded to serve the Apple Capital Valley, giving fans a club to support and scores of players a place to play. The importance of WFC is clear. In the very center of Washington geographically, the greater Wenatchee area is also host to talented soccer players whose careers can now keep going after high school and college. In “Apple Valley Grown” we will visit with a few guys who are benefitting from the birth of the Capitals of WFC.
Quincy has a current population of about 7,000. The town is 31 miles from Wenatchee sitting just south and east of the Apple Capital. When you are a kid, that might as well be a world away. For forward / attacker Eduardo Perez, it was a place where his love for soccer broke through and opened the eyes of the adults around him. Now he’s playing for Wenatchee FC in the EPLWA and Skagit Valley College in the NWAC.
“I was born in California but was raised in Mexico for ten years,” Eduardo tells goalWA.net. “I would always watch people play and that encouraged me to play. At the age of ten I moved to a small town called Quincy. There were youth teams but my parents didn’t let me play soccer because they would work and wouldn’t have time to take me to practices or games. I would always play soccer at school and some of my classmates would tell me to play with them. Later a guy name Samuel Alejandrez talked to my parents and he convinced them to let me play. He was the one that told me I had something inside that he didn’t see in other soccer players.”
That breakthrough moment fueled a soccer life for Perez. “When I was in (my first youth) team I would practice for four hours everyday. Sometimes I would stay in the park with my team until it was so dark that we couldn’t see the ball. My parents saw I was really happy playing soccer. They began to support me; they would skip work to take me to games.”
“I played for CB United select team and later Played for Arsenal, a team that had players from Wenatchee, Chelan, Manson, Brewster and Bridgeport. This team had many talented players which helped me become a bettersoccer player. In high school I was the only Freshman starter. It was a dream coming into reality. I played four years of varsity soccer, three years as captain. I became the all-time leading scorer and assist-maker in Quincy High School history. I also earned MVP of the League and First team all-League and First team All-state.”
Eduardo clearly is a guy who is ready to take advantage of an opportunity when it appears. So when Wenatchee announced that it would be fielding a team in the Evergreen Premier League, one of its founders made sure to talk to Perez.
“I got involved with Wenatchee FC because Javier Reyna told me about it when he came up to Skagit Valley to play against us and told me to try out for the team because I was a local player. He knew how I played because I would play in the Wenatchee Area with local teams. Wenatchee Valley CC head coach (John) Wright also encourage me to try out. Some of my teammates and I decided to go back home during spring quarter to try out. We made it to the team and we decided to take online classes for our college. I was so excited to play in the EPLWA. I knew there was going to be so many talents in our team and other teams we would play against. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to have a starting spot but I worked really hard and I ended up in the starting squad. I played as a striker. One of my favorite moments was when we beat Vancouver on our field and I scored a goal. I loved it when we would travel with the team and we would bond, it was different because we all used to play against each other and suddenly we became friends.”
Just like Samuel Alejandrez did for Eduardo as a kid, Wenatchee FC saw something in his play. Now he has the chance to take it all even further. “Wenatchee FC has helped me become a better soccer player by playing against competitive teams. It was a nice experience: it was nice playing with talented local players. I learned skills that will help me in college soccer.”
Right now Perez is with a NWAC school team that has a heavy Central Washington flavor. “I’m currently playing for Skagit Valley College. We have many players from Chelan, Brewster, Manson, Bridgeport. We are currently in 3rd but if we win all of our game we could win the league title. We had a rough start but that motivates us to keep working hard. We clinched a spot in the playoffs already. Against Shoreline one of our player was sent off with a red card in the first ten minutes. We played with ten players and we got the win! Against Bellevue I scored the winning goal which gave us our first three points of the season.
From Quincy to WFC to….? What is next for Eduardo? “I’m a sophomore this year. My goal is to play at a four-year university. I still don’t know where I want to go next but I know I still want to play competitive soccer. My dream is to become a professional soccer player and I won’t give up on my dream. I’m planning on returning to Wenatchee FC next season, to compete and bring a trophy back to our valley.”
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