Soccer player named All-American
UIC senior midfielder Jesus Perez is an All-American, as selected by United Soccer Coaches.
The announcement, made Dec. 12 in conjunction with the onset of the College Cup, placed Perez as one of three midfielders on the second team.
“Congratulations to Chino on this tremendous recognition. It is very well deserved,” Sean Phillips said. “Since arriving at UIC in January of 2017, he has dedicated himself to becoming the best player, teammate and individual possible. We look forward to hanging this plaque in our office with the others and continuing to help Chino and our current and future players with obtaining their goals on and off the field.”
Perez is UIC’s seventh All-American in the Division I era. The program had six All-American selections before joining Division I in 1981.
Perez is spending the weekend in Raleigh, N.C., at the MLS Collegiate Showcase. He was one of only 40 collegiate players selected for the event, which will allow potential MLS draft picks to train and interact with team executives.
Perez has proven to be one of the nation’s elite midfielders during his Flames career. United Soccer Coaches placed him on their All-Region teams each of the last three years. He led the nation in assists last year and was ninth this year. He was in the top 20 in shots and shots on goal per game for a Flames squad that led the country in those categories. The repeat Horizon League Player of the Year made the conference’s All-League First Team every year with UIC.
In addition to joining UIC’s list of All-Americans, Perez is the program’s fourth three-time All-Region selection, and second two-time Horizon League Player of the Year. He joined Eric Lukin as the conference’s only multiple Players of the Year.
Perez finished 2019 with 20 points on six goals and eight assists. He is second among active players in career assists, with 28.
Beyond his statistics, Perez elevated the play of everyone else on the team. Whether using dazzling individual moves to create plays or feeding a teammate into an advantageous position, he gave the team extended bouts of possession.
The three first-team All-American midfielders are from Virginia and Wake Forest, who are both playing in the College Cup, and Washington, which was ranked No. 1 much of the year.