After 19 years, eight at the international level, U.S. Soccer assistant referee Veronica Perez has called time on her career. During her career, Perez officiated twelve international tournaments and dozens of friendlies.
“I have so many memories from refereeing as it has shaped my life on and off the field,” said Perez. “Refereeing at the top level had its challenges, with many high and lows, but was also extremely rewarding. I feel very fortunate to having had the opportunity to work in twelve international tournaments and to have represented my country.”
Among the twelve international tournaments, Perez officiated matches at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, as well as the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, where she refereed the third-place match. Among all the high profile matches she adjudicated, Perez expressed the most appreciation for her experience at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“One of my fondest memories is from the Beijing Olympics,” said Perez. “My referee team was appointed to the opening match between Germany and Brazil and we were the first team to travel to a venue. The day before the match, as we walked through the hotel lobby to catch a ride to the airport, we found that the other referees had made a tunnel for us and gave us high fives and cheered for us as we walked out of the hotel. That day was amazing. I didn't know the names of many of the other referees since they were from all over the world and the Olympics was my first international tournament, yet I clearly remember knowing that I was part of a much bigger football family. A football family that cheers for the success of our colleagues, wishing that every referee had great matches and gave their very best performances.”
Through her hard work and strong performances, Perez made an impression on other referees throughout her career. “Veronica really made an art of being an assistant referee,” said Marlene Duffy, a former FIFA Assistant Referee who retired last fall. “She was always poised and somehow managed to make every movement and signal clean and crisp."
Kari Seitz, U.S. Soccer’s most successful international referee, agrees that Perez will be missed along the touchline.
"It’s been wonderful having been on a team at world class competitions with Veronica,” said Seitz. “She has always been the consummate professional; focused and dedicated to being the very best assistant referee. She will be missed as an official, but will be a welcome asset to the US Soccer Instruction/Assessment program. No doubt her knowledge will help inspire and develop many more assistant referees of her caliber."
Although Perez will no longer take the pitch, she plans to stay around the program and become a National Instructor, to ensure her 19-years of expertise continue to grow the game she loves.
“I understand the path that has taken many referees to get to the highest level, this path required a lot of commitment, hard work, discipline, sacrifice and humility,” says Perez. “As referees, we expect perfection out of ourselves, and know this is an unattainable goal, yet we continue to strive for that goal because we believe that if we prepare and work hard enough for it, we can come close.”