Claim to fame: Perez is a two-year letterman and was named a team captain by Knights head coach Jared Cruddas for his leadership and dependability at midfielder. Heights will need all of that after graduating four key seniors from a team (12-12, 8-6 12-5A) last season that secured a second straight playoff appearance and third in the last four years.
Heights lost quite a few key contributors off of last year’s team. What are the expectations going into this season?
“Our expectations are playoffs again, because we have a strong squad just like last year and we look good so far.”
How might the recent playoff appearances carry over for this year’s team?
“I think us making the playoffs the last two years puts a little higher expectations on making it and it becomes more important to live up to the year before.”
The team lost quite a few scorers from last season’s team. Are you putting any more pressure on yourself to score more this season?
“If I get the chance then I’ve got to execute it, but I’m just looking to help out the team as much as I can and do my part.”
What’s it going to take to get this team to the playoffs for a third-straight season?
“It’s going to take hard work, dedication, being able to focus. ... Just playing with confidence every game.”
Do you have any pregame rituals you have to go through to get ready for games?
“Usually we just go through our stretches, me and the other captain (lead), and we just try and motivate the team as best we can and keep them focused to get ready for the game. Because it’s time to stop playing around once the game starts.”
Soccer games are long, usually drawn out affairs. How do you keep going throughout an entire 80-minute game?
“Throughout the whole offseason you have to keep your fitness right and stay in shape, and in the game, you just have to keep your eye on the prize and focus on the game.”
This time of year is full of cold and wet days. What’s it like playing in such poor conditions?
“At first, it’s obviously really cold and you don’t even feel like going outside, but once you start moving around and getting up to the tempo of the game, and warm up, you don’t even feel it anymore. It feels normal.”
What’s your take on the new District 8-5A with Killeen and Waco Midway joining the fray and perennial playoff teams Bryan and A&M Consolidated leaving?
“We lost A&M and Bryan, which were two of the top teams, but we still have Belton, and Midway is also really good. It’s going to be a hard season.”
The holiday season just passed; did you make any New Years resolutions?
“I just want to be a harder worker and give 110 percent in everything.”