CHICAGO (Feb. 16, 2012) – Javier Perez has been named head coach of the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team, effective immediately. He will fill the vacancy left by former head coach Richie Williams after he was named head coach of the Under-17 Men’s National Team.
“It’s an honor to be part of the National Team staff,” Perez said. “This job is extremely important because the U-17 Men’s National Team and U-20 Men’s National Team are two groups going into World Cups for their respective age group. The U-18s do not have a World Cup, but the job, in this case, is to make that transition between the U-17s toward U-20s easier. Also, I think it’s a good opportunity to work with other National Team coaches and I’m really excited.”
Perez is the Director of Coaching at New York Soccer Club and was previously a coach at Real Madrid, spending six years with the Spanish team as a coach in the club’s development center.
The Valladolid, Spain, native holds a UEFA PRO license from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and a UEFA “A” license from the English Football Association, and he worked at the RFEF as a member of the management team for the Master License available to senior coaches.
With a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology for monitoring the Real Madrid youth players’ heart rates, Perez became one of three coaches in Spain to receive an Exercise Physiology Ph.D. and the UEFA PRO license. In addition to his Ph.D., he also holds an M.Phil. in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a Masters Degree in Sports Science and a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education.
Perez already has experience with U.S. Soccer, having worked with U.S. Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna to develop the U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum, which is designed to improve the development of players in the United States. He has also worked with U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann as a member of the staff for a two-game trip in October of 2011, when the U.S. faced Honduras and Ecuador.
“The style of play we are going to develop is in line with what Technical Director Claudio Reyna and myself have been working on the past two years with the U.S. Soccer curriculum,” Perez said. “It will be an offensive style, a dominant style, and it will give the opportunity to the most talented players to develop possession and quick circulation of the ball to create goalscoring opportunities.”
Perez also plans on being in close contact with U-17 Men’s National Team head coach Williams, who was recently joined on staff by assistant coach Jim Rooney, and U-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos.
“Both of them were U-18 National Team coaches before, so they are going to be a good help for the selection of the players,” Perez said. “[I will be] working with them for developing these players toward the U-20 National Team. That’s my job now.”
The U-18 MNT will compete in the annual Lisbon International Tournament from May 23-26 in what will be Perez’s first competition as head coach.