Freddy Perez is a graduate assistant, Eastern Nazarene College alumnus, and an assistant coach for the men’s soccer program here at ENC. He graduated in 2011 from ENC with a degree in biology and went on to work as an operations manager for five years before deciding to return to ENC to pursue a master’s degree in management.
“I was not happy at my job at the time and needed a change,” said Perez about why he came back to ENC. “I had achieved and grown as much as I could and didn’t feel there was an opportunity for me to continue growing or be challenged in that role.”
Perez stumbled across the graduate assistant position and decided that obtaining his master’s would allow him to get better career opportunities in the future. Taking the graduate assistant position allowed Perez to gain experience in things like leadership and coaching while he pursued his studies.
His responsibilities as an assistant coach change based on whether the team is in season or not. During the season, Perez meets with Coach Bell and the other coaches to discuss strategy and plan training exercises and practices. He also spends time reviewing the tapes of previous games of upcoming opponents as well as tapes from previous ENC games.
Once the season ends, his responsibilities change to suit the team’s needs in preparation for the next season.
“During the offseason, my days are spent recruiting. I spend a lot of time watching film highlights of potential recruits, and when I am not doing that I spend my time coordinating with those potential recruits and setting up campus visits,” said Perez.
Perez, an ENC Men’s Soccer alumnus himself, expressed his joy in being a part of the program he had been a member of during his undergraduate degree.
“Nothing compares to the pride that I have had being able to coach a program I used to play for, and this group of guys in particular. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to work with and am really proud of all we have achieved this past season,” said Perez.
With a semifinal finish in the NECC, this past fall marked the furthest the men’s soccer program has come in over two decades.
A big part of the requirements for the graduate assistants working in athletics is the willingness to connect with the student-athletes they work with.
“The student-athlete interaction is the best part of the job. It has been a blessing to be able to forge relationships with my players. I learn as much from them as they do from me, and it has been great to create friendships that I hope will last long after soccer is done,” said Perez.
As Perez nears the completion of his degree, he hopes to stay on with men’s soccer as an assistant coach and see the program through to a conference championship.
“I love coaching here and feel that there is still more that needs to be accomplished before I move on,” said Perez.