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Tritons’ Perez to attend Naval Academy

Soccer standout signed letter of intent Wednesday

November 15, 2019
By CJ HADDAD ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Wednesday afternoon, in front of his family, friends and supporters, Mariner High School soccer standout Leo Perez signed his letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic career next year at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The 2018-19 Gatorade Florida Boys Soccer Player of the Year donned the navy blue and gold colors of his future school and was all smiles as he put pen to paper and made his Division I dreams a reality.

"Thank you to everyone who has helped me out in the past and in the future," Perez said. "Everybody in here is someone who's had an influence in my life for the better."

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Mariner’s Leo Perez signs his letter of intent to attend the Naval Academy to continue his soccer career.

The senior made Mariner history last season, chalking up a school-record 47 goals and 17 assists. Perez recorded 13 multi-goal games, including seven three-goal hat tricks.

Perez was quick to give thanks to his coaches who, he said, played an instrumental role in his development.

"Thank you to my coaches who have always been there for me, who have always had my back through the ups and downs."

Perez also thanked his teammates and friends who, he said, have stuck by his side through thick and thin.

He hopes to continue his success at the next level.

"I'm going to do my best to hopefully be one of the best players at the Naval Academy," Perez said. "I'm going to keep going, keep pushing and work hard every day."

Last season's Class 3A Player of the Year said his visit to the Naval Academy made the difference in selecting where he would play come next fall.

"What attracted me to the Naval Academy was, when I went there on the visit, everything just seemed, prestigious," Perez said. "It sets my life up for the better. It gives me a lot of opportunities I didn't have before. And coming from a small town in New Jersey and from Cape Coral, it means a lot. Going into the Naval Academy, I feel like is the way out. I'm really excited."

Perez said he's looking to take this year's Tritons boys soccer team all the way to the state playoffs and beyond.

Last season, Mariner was defeated by eventual 3A state champions American Heritage at the regional final on penalty kicks.

Perez uses last season, as well as those who may doubt him, as fuel to his fire.

"I know there's people out there who don't want me to succeed, but it doesn't bother me," he said. "I'm just trying to become the best player I can. Every day I'm going to make sure my teammates are they best they can become, and hope that they improve as well. If my teammates improve, I improve as well. I just want everything to work out for the best."

Perez certainly got back to work with a bang in Tuesday's season opener, where he recorded another hat trick and tacked on two assists in Mariner's 6-0 win over Ida Baker.

Perez and the Tritons are set to play tonight on the road against North Port.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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