AROUND THE NET, CONCACAF NEWS — July 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Perez arrives at Chivas to boost leadership


By Gerardo Martínez Gómez   7-19-12

In the real world, 31 is a relatively young age. In soccer, it indicates a veteran, a stage when a player is looked to for leadership — and the reason CD Guadalajara has acquired 14-year-Mexican national team midfielder Luis Ernesto Perez.

Having helped Monterrey to the past two CONCACAF Champions League titles, Chivas is hoping Perez can give a new face to Guadalajara and bring some its international success with him.

With three Mexican league titles already filling his resume, Perez will look to transfer that when he dons the Chivas red-and-white stripes for the first time on Sunday in its league opener against Toluca – and then when the “Goats” debut in the Champions League August 21 against Xelaju of Guatemala.

“We have to go step by step, but without a doubt the Champions Leagues is a tournament that we want and should win,” Perez said. “Chivas is a great team that needs to win all the tournaments that it plays, so we are preparing for that.

“Right now the team has looked good and the preseason has allowed us to develop the style that the coach wants. We are a young team that is very fast, but sometimes needs take a pause to analyze its best options in the attack, and that’s why they brought me.”

After nine years at Monterrey, where he became accustomed to victory celebrations, Perez knows that winning titles are not a desire at 11-time Mexican league champion Chivas, they are more like an obligation.

“Rafa (Marquez Lugo) and I, we are the new guys on the team, we are conscious of the team that we’ve come to,” Perez said. “We understand that Chivas owes everything to its great fans and its history, so that’s why we’ve been preparing well, to have a good league season and look to win the CONCACAF tournament.”

The 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Perez debuted as a goal scorer with Chivas on Saturday in the Copa Jalisco against Pumas. Having already won the Champions League twice, he is well aware of its importance, and is determined to once again play in the Club World Cup.

“Playing in the Champions League is something that, for some teams, might represent an excess of games. In Monterrey, it helped us find a rhythm and to allow players that hadn’t played many league games to enter in to the dynamic of the first team,” he said. “And in the end it meant that the team had an important amount of games. Therefore I think that the same thing should happen in Chivas, especially with the young, large roster that we have.

“I am sure that with the more games that we play, we will find our style quicker, and the tournament will help us. Furthermore it’s a tournament that gives a big prize in the Club World Cup and I want to play in it again.”

Perez has been through the long journey that is the Champions League, but is convinced it’s worth the time and effort, as at the end, “you raise a trophy and you have the opportunity to play a great tournament at the end of the year, that in addition is an opportunity to be noticed around the world.”

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