James Kelly Special for the Arizona Daily Star
FC Tucson midfielder Louis Perez started late, but he is making up for lost time.
Perez helped FC Tucson to a 3-2 first-place win last weekend, earning USL League One Player of the Week honors. Perez registered an assist then scored a goal against the Red Wolves.
“I feel better, I feel better,” Perez said. “I played a bit on the wing, a bit as a midfielder, as a 10, so I’m starting to feel good, feeling better in terms of spacing and movement, so I hope i get better and better so we can play better as a team.
Perez and FC Tucson (1-1-1) will look to build on that momentum on Saturday, when they host South Georgia Tormenta (1-1-1) at 7 p.m.
Perez attended Central Florida and played for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC of USL Championship before joining FC Tucson. The Parisian is the very first French player to play for FC Tucson. He played for Paris Saint-Germain, CO Vincennes, AS Poissy and ESTAC Troyes in his youth before coming to the United States.
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FC Tucson coach Jon Pearlman said he was happy with Perez’s play so far.
“He’s coming in late, so it’s really pre-season for him,” Pearlman said. “He basically arrived a week before the start of the season and was able to play, took great care of him in the offseason and I think he’s going to get stronger and I think he’s going to continue to be dangerous all throughout the season.”
Pearlman, who is also the club’s technical director, said he was looking for more than talent when it came to players who previously played in the USL Championship, a tier above Ligue 1.
“You have to have guys coming from the Championship who want to show off, who aren’t disappointed to go down, don’t see it as a downhill,” Pearlman said. “I explained to Louis what my expectations were for him, what our system of play is, how I can show him higher on the court than Pittsburgh, and he bought into it.
Perez said he and Pearlman “phoned each other several times” before deciding to sign. The club announced the deal on February 3.
“He told me about the opportunity to come here and everything he told me about the team, about the players, about the city,” Perez said. “I really liked what he said, so I just decided to come here.”
• In addition to Perez, FC Tucson defenders Jacob Crull and Luca Mastrantonio were also selected to the USL League One Team of the Week.