Family first — on and off field


Annamaria Rodriguez

Senior Edgar, junior Benlly, and freshmen Oliver Perez enjoy to take family trips to the park to play soccer together.

Michealla Foules

Brothers at home. Brothers at school. Brothers on the soccer field. The Perez brothers Edgar, Benlly, and Oliver hold not so much of a brother rivalry but a heartfelt bond with each other.

Freshman Oliver Perez temporarily played on varsity with his brothers in the beginning of the season. “It feels great to be playing with them and it feels like I’m doing better than they are,” he said. “I just get encouraged to do my best.” Oliver has been playing for three and a half years and is now playing on JV.

Junior Benlly and senior Edgar Perez are protective of Oliver at on and off the field. Most importantly Benlly and Edgar make sure he keeps up with his grades. “I want Oliver to stay tough schoolwise, so he can be on varsity and we can play more games together.” Edgar said.

Benlly who plays on varsity with Edgar said he felt comfortable playing on the same team. They get along pretty well. “It’s easier to play with my brother,” Benlly said. “We basically know each other’s moves and how we play.”

Although their understanding of each other is a positive aspect of their relationship, sometimes this leads to a lack of communication on the field.
Benlly and Edgar agreed. “It’s little things we don’t do right, and communication that messes us up.”

Edgar, being the oldest of the three, feels like he has to look after his brothers, not because his parents tell him to, but because he has an instinct to protect them. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to watch all of them,” said Edgar. “I love them.” He started playing soccer his freshman year. It was his sophomore year with hard work and that he was moved up to varsity and has played on that level ever since.

Not only does Edgar protect his brothers but he also tries to be a role model, especially to young Oliver. “I feel like I have to play harder,” he said. “To show Oliver that he needs to play harder and put in work.”

The most memorable game the Perez brothers have ever played together was during a Stagg soccer tournament, when they played on the same line and the trio accomplished a triangle pass between a player on the opposing team. They shook and faked their rival as they kicked the ball back and forth. The Perez brothers proudly bring this up from time to time and their faces light up with excitement as they prepare to share their favorite play.

The Perez brothers aren’t the only ones who share the kinship on the field. Senior Javier and  freshman Hector Grajeda play together on varsity. They both play indoor soccer in the off season. The Grajeda brothers have a close relationship as well.

“I look up to my brother because he was on varsity as a freshman too.” Hector said. He’s been playing soccer since he was 3 and started playing as goalie when he was 7. In total, Hector has been playing soccer for 11 years.
In this case of brothers, the oldest isn’t necessarily the one looking out for little brother. “I don’t really have to look out for him,” Javier said. “He’s responsible and has honors classes. It’s like he watches over me.” Javier loves playing with his little brother. “I feel more comfortable, because I know he’s a good player and he really saves the team a lot.”

On Oct. 2, Hector saved a penalty kick that lead their team to victory over the St. Mary’s Rams. “It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.” Javier said. Hector himself feels very proud of that game.

Without Hector, Javier would most likely have been sitting in the stands watching his brother. “My brother joined the team, so I joined.” Javier said. Before this year had started, Javier didn’t think he was going to play his senior year, because of issues he had gotten into with his coach and team. He even decided that he was going to move to Lincoln High.

“I went off on the team captains,” said Javier. “I also went off on coach Marrone. At the same time, I was talking to Lincoln soccer players behind their backs, so Marrone felt betrayed.”

Javier, Marrone, and the team, worked all their problems out. Now Javier happily and proudly plays with his little brother.

Soccer is what ties all of these brothers together, keeping their brotherhood strong, while enjoying the sport they all love.