VANCOUVER, BC – Hero and villain.
That’s the name of the MLS Insider documentary (as seen above) that looks into the “two sides” of Blas Perez, an ex-FC Dallas striker who Vancouver Whitecaps FC acquired on Tuesday.
‘Caps fans know all about Perez the “villain.”
The Panamanian striker has been a thorn in the team’s side ever since joining the league in 2012 – and that’s probably an understatement. His four career goals against Whitecaps FC are the second most among current MLS players.
And whether he’s scoring or not, he always seems to get under the team’s skin in one way or another. But it turns out there’s a little more to Perez than first meets the eye.
Take his infamous horns up celebration, for example.
You know the one.
“They called my dad ‘The Bull,’ so that’s why I do the horns,” Perez told MLS Insider. “The celebration is in honour of my old man.”
Perez’s old man, Blas Perez Sr., passed away in 2012.
It hit him hard.
“That was a tough blow,” said Perez, who has a tattoo of his dad on his chest. “My father meant a lot to me, still means a lot to me. My dad always supported me in everything I did. He was always with me, at every practice, when I was with the national team … when I was on vacation, he was my best friend.”
And he was strong and built like a bull, thus the nickname and celebration.
“When he scores a goal, I think of my grandpa every time,” said Perez’s daughter Nayeilis.
Perez, who also has two boys, learned a lot from his father.
On the one hand, Perez was taught to always “give everything.” That explains his win-at-all-cost mentality and aggressiveness on the pitch.
“He told me one time, ‘When I step on to the field, this is not just for me. It’s for my family,’” said FC Dallas defender Atiba Harris, who used to play for Vancouver. “I took that to heart. Blas is very motivated. He’s hungry. He never stops running. He never stops fighting.”
On the other hand, Perez’s father stressed the importance of family, education, and respect.
“My father was a very humble and caring man,” he told FCDallas.com. “One of the big things in my family was education not only in school, but also first in the house about how you treat each other and having respect for your family. I hope to instill those same things in my family as well.”
That’s the side of Perez that isn’t as well known.
“In this football world, there are guys you absolutely hate to play against and guys that absolutely haunt you,” said Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted. “Then you end up as teammates with them and you figure out they’re actually very nice guys. It’s the same with Blas.”
Ousted has butted heads with Perez on a few occasions over the past years – and so has Whitecaps FC defender Jordan Harvey.
“He’s obviously had some success against us and done really well,” Harvey said. “At the end of the day, we need guys who can score goals and he can do that. There are a lot of players that on the field and off the field are completely different guys."
The ‘Caps are known for having a tight-knit locker room. And it seems Perez is fitting right in.
“Obviously, he’s been the villain to ‘Caps players and ‘Caps fans over the last few years but he’s a nice guy,” Ousted said. “I think it’s only going to be a strength for our team to finally have him play for us and not play against us.”
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