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Daniel Pereira, the Venezuelan who made history in MLS

The midfielder was Austin FC's first choice in the 2021 SuperDraft, thus becoming the first Latino to achieve such distinction .

Daniel Pereira

Pereira is the first Latino to be chosen as number one in the MLS SuperDraft. Photo: TW-danipereira12

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Daniel Pereira, el venezolano que hizo historia en la MLS

Daniel Pereira, a young man who had to leave his native Venezuela - like many others- and who, along with his parents, came to the United States asking for asylum may be the new star of American "soccer" . Pereira's life took a leap thanks to soccer as he now has the chance to play professionally after becoming the first Latino to be chosen as number one in the MLS SuperDraft .

For those unfamiliar with this system, the American soccer league has an annual event called SuperDraft, which is used by clubs to select players who have graduated from college or who have otherwise been signed by the league itself . The beginnings of this draft date from the year 2000, and since then there has always been an interest in the first choice of each year. As expected, the predominant nationality is the United States; although cases have been seen with soccer players from Liberia, Republic of the Congo, Jamaica, Canada, England, Ghana and Portugal . It is here when the Venezuelan makes an appearance on behalf of the Latino community.

From Caracas to Virginia

Like most Caracas players, Daniel started at the renowned Colegio San Agustín del Paraíso , where he was directed by coaches who already have a great career such as Francesco Stifano (league champion with Zamora FC and former coach of Águilas Doradas in Colombia) and Martín Carrillo (current U-20 coach of Venezuela). Interviewed by La Pizarra del DT about Pereira, Carrillo commented: «I think (Daniel) stands out for his technique. It is a gift with which he was born, because since childhood he has been a different player. Despite his short stature, he stood out for his good foot, which has been evolving. It should be noted that one of the most important stages of his training occurred in the participation of two modules of the Vinotinto U-15".

Also read: Yeferson Soteldo, the small giant of Venezuela

With 2015 underway and the crisis in Venezuela growing, Daniel and his parents made the difficult decision to start a new life far away . The city that housed them was Roanoke, in the state of Virginia, but the beginning was not easy. Without knowing English, in a cold climate and with no acquaintances in the area, Daniel ended up taking refuge again in soccer at a state school, where he demonstrated his quality to impress coach Ryan Schilling.

«Yo no me quería ir de Venezuela. Estaba con mi fútbol, tranquilo, estaba con mis amigos. Tenía todo arreglado. Pero también sabía que la situación en Venezuela era muy grave, que se iba a poner peor». - Daniel Pereira a The Associated Press.

2019 could not be better for Daniel. Virginia Tech offered him to be part of the team in the best university  soccer conference in the country , something that the Venezuelan did not hesitate to accept to continue showing his quality with the ball. And, after his outstanding performances, his coach, Mike Brizendine, put him in the professional orbit by recommending him to various MLS clubs. This also earned him a contract from Generation Adidas, a joint venture between MLS and Adidas that is dedicated to developing talent in the United States. Precisely, the league hires players from universities and academies every year to be eligible in the SuperDraft.

Historical choice

Thanks to the Adidas program, and to his own qualities, Daniel was part of the top-5 of players eligible for the draft that took place during the month of January of this year . The selection system indicates that if there is an new franchise it has the priority of choosing first, so Austin FC opted for the midfielder's skill with the ball for what will be his debut season in MLS . «He plays in various positions in the midfield and is very comfortable. He is a very humble and hungry player. We like his soccer Intelligence and he's a very technical player, ”said Josh Wolff, the team's coach, after the draft. Without a doubt, this match is just beginning for the Venezuelan who will seek to conquer the United States with a soccer ball.

«Es un honor, realmente no lo esperaba. Hay muchos jugadores talentosos en el Draft. Este fue el momento más importante de mi vida y es un sueño, nunca lo olvidaré. Saber que fui seleccionado por leyendas como Claudio Reyna y Josh Wolff es un gran honor.» - Daniel Pereira en videoconferencia tras la elección.