Golden Valley High School

From Grizzly Bear to Golden Bear

Francisco Perez was a top goal scorer, and a soccer player at Golden Valley High School. He was also a top player for his Real So Cal club team. He played at the highest level in the Coast Soccer League (CSL) proving his talent by scoring 15 goals. After receiving many accolades at Golden Valley High School he’s moved onto the next level. The rising sophomore at UC Berkeley is making a name for himself in the very tough Pac-12 Conference.

Photo courtesy of Francisco Perez

Going into college and continuing to play soccer was a huge challenge for Francisco; where essentially everybody was a top level and all top scorers. Everyone was highly competitive and talented, so it was hard to stay motivated and focused on the main goal to be the best of the best. He was used to being the best player on the pitch, constantly scoring goals, and playing full 90 minutes.

Once he got to college it seemed that everyone was the top player on both their high school and club team. It was being around that level of talent that pushed him even farther to make sure he earned a spot on the team and give as much effort to improve his game. To help himself stay impactful, and in order to start improving Francisco went back to the basics: hard work, patience and belief in himself.

Photo courtesy of Francisco Perez

“Balancing school and soccer is tough as it is, especially at Cal”, Perez said. His major isn’t an easy one. Computer Science and Applied Math are very difficult majors for any regular student but for a student-athlete it’s doubly difficult. The biggest thing about the academic and athletic load is mostly time management.

His schedule is very busy, it includes hours of studying doing homework, and of course a lot of soccer practice. “The moment you start to focus on other things is when you start to slip from being a good student and athlete so it’s always important to just constantly remind yourself why you’re there”, Perez said.

It’s very difficult for a first-year player to contribute in their first season but Perez did just that by scoring two goals and two assists on the season.

His parents and siblings continue to be a big assets to him, and still a huge support system when it comes to his soccer career. “My father always took me to train and my mother was always there too, supporting me and helping me in advice as well. Having brothers and sisters also quite invested in soccer was a huge help keeping to motivated and having soccer just always around me,” Perez said. 

In some families that are athletic, there may be a rivalry between siblings. Perez has a younger sister and brother where the competition was always friendly. Emily Perez, present Golden Valley soccer player said she always viewed Francisco not just as her brother, but as her role model. He inspired Emily to always bring out the best out of her whether it’s academics, soccer or just anything in life.

“Francisco would always help me improve on soccer by pushing me to my limits and almost passing out. We would take the time to put in training sessions on weekends, weekdays, mornings, nights, summers, vacations, etc…” Seeing Perez be independent after moving away for college, it gave motivation for Emily, and inspired her to do better. “Francisco has not only motivated and inspired me, yet he has motivated so many others who remember him,” Emily said.

A lot of student athletes have a difficult time adjusting to college. Perez has some advice for those looking to make that next move. “Advice I would give to anyone really looking to play at the next level and especially college soccer I’d would be to just be consistent. Consistent in training, consistent in working hard everyday, consistent in having a competitive mentality everyday, and believe in yourself at all times,” Perez said.

Photo courtesy of Francisco Perez

With that mindset and being consistent, Perez has a bright future ahead of him as both a soccer player and student.