When you think of retirement, a warm, sunny beach in Florida might be one of the first images that comes to mind. For Nicolas Perea, his retirement from the USL Championship brought him to sand in the Sunshine State, but he’s doing much more than working on his tan with a drink in his hand. A former midfielder for RGVFC and Indy Eleven, Perea is now showcasing his skills in beach soccer.
“I got into it back in 2019,” Perea told BGN. “I played a local exhibition match in the off-season against the Bahamas all stars. That led to me being invited to a US National Team Domestic Camp. I was thrilled and honored to be called up to a camp.”
“It was an incredible experience but as I stated before, I was in off-season so my focus was on getting back on the grass. In 2020, my contract with Indy had just finished and the pandemic halted everything so it was pretty tough to find a club. I reconnected with the head coach from the exhibition match and saw that they were starting to make a beach soccer league (National Beach Soccer League/NBSL) and have been training with them and participating in tournaments since.”
Discussing his “retirement” from the USL, he said with a laugh, “It’s not like I’ve made an announcement on Instagram or come out with an official statement. I just transitioned to beach soccer and it’s something I’m really loving.”
“Also, instead of bouncing around from city to city, I get to be home near my family and loved ones. And that’s something you can’t beat.”
He’s not just dabbling in a fun hobby either. Perea is representing the United States national team in the 2021 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship with World Cup qualification on the line. He explained, “It’s the highest honor I could think of when it comes to sports. I’m still looking for the right words to describe my excitement. Luckily, I can show my appreciation on the sand by helping the team reach our goal. Which to qualify for the World Cup!”
Perea scored a brace in the team’s opening match win vs. Turks and Caicos Islands and will look to help the US advance in their quarterfinal matchup with Panama later today.
— Concacaf (@Concacaf) May 17, 2021
During quarantine, when he wasn’t improving on his beach soccer skills and his understanding of the sport, Nicolas was providing an assist with someone else’s passion project. He said, “During my downtime, I would help Taylor (his girlfriend) with photos, videos, editing, ideas, recipes, etc. for her Instagram page, TAYstyTravels, where she shares amazing food companies/products, fun/easy recipes and must try restaurants!”
“The amount of work she has put in the last year is incredible! And it shows that companies and restaurants have noticed as she has been able to work with some of the biggest brands in the food industry. I’m extremely proud of her and will continue to help and support her in her business. Also, the perks are great! That’s why I’ve given myself the title, ‘TAYstytravels Taste Tester’ (unofficial)(but needs to be made official).”
When it comes to retirement, it doesn’t get much better than delicious food, beach soccer, and representing your country. Nicolas Perea definitely has his “second act” in soccer figured out.