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Sports www.TheReminder.com Perron pursues pro soccer dream in Hong Kong By Chris Maza chrism@thereminder.com


GREATER SPRINGFIELD – For as long as Adam Perron can remember, he has wanted to play professional soccer overseas. Now the


Western


Massachusetts native, born in Northampton, raised in Ludlow and Hampden and most recently residing in Westfield, may soon have his chance. Perron returns home on April 4 after spending the past several weeks in China and Hong Kong trying out for professional soccer teams and hopes he has earned an invitation to join a team’s training camp in July with a shot at a contract, complete with monthly salary, room and board and food. Perron is vying for an


opportunity to grab one of four spots open to international players on a team in the Hong Kong First Division League and after what he felt were some very good sessions, he feels he has a chance. “I’ve been to two matches here, in beautiful 7,000-seat stadiums set within the city, and believe I can really help a team here. When I fly back to the states [on April 4], it is out of my hands, however, and need to rely on a combination of faith and a bit of luck as I feel I put my best foot forward with the two teams I


trained with,” Perron said in a March 31 interview with Reminder Publications. “I train with one more team on April 1 to try and expand my options, but I believe I have a good shot to come back in the summer.” While now carrying an optimistic outlook, The University of Massachusetts (UMass) goaltending coach and former Western Mass. Pioneer team member’s trip nearly ended in disappointment. But overcoming long odds is nothing new to Perron. “I would have to say the main


lesson I’ve learned in life is to do what you can to pursue your dreams and never stop fighting for what you want to do in life,” he said. “Many times throughout my career, I have been faced with adversity coming in the form of a lack of playing time for a given team, a run of bad form, mistakes, injury and being cut. It is those adverse moments, however, that make the triumphs, awards, wins, saves, and achievements that much better.”


After playing at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Perron received little to no attention from college programs at any level, something he for which he blames his lack of understanding of college recruiting.


“That would be a word of advice to the youth soccer players


looking to play in college – do your homework on the process and visit as many schools as possible, talk to coaches and enter their summer camps so they can see you up close,” Perron said.


After making a video tape and sending it to several schools, Perron caught the eye of Peter Steese of Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. Perron won the starting job as a freshman, finishing second in rookie of the year voting and earning second team all-conference honors and started all four years. He was the team’s Most Valuable Player his junior year and an all-conference honorable mention as a senior. He ranks second all-time in wins and fourth in goals against average for the program.


He spent the summers after his


senior year playing for the Pioneers, who then were part of the USL-2 professional league, and spent the winter in the Big E Coliseum playing minor-league indoor soccer for the Massachusetts Twisters. In his second year with the Pioneers, tragedy struck as Perron shattered his ankle, an injury that nearly cost him his career. However, Perron was able to recover and play one more season in Western Massachusetts. In 2009, Perron turned to coaching, going to Utica College in


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Adam Perron is hoping to begin his international soccer career soon after attending tryouts for three teams in Hong Kong recently.


Reminder Publications submitted photo


New York where he coached the goaltenders and worked toward his master’s degree while playing for the Albany Highlanders under current Pioneers coach Joe Calabrese. He spent two years there before re-joining Calabrese with the Pioneers in the summer of 2011, splitting time with three other goaltenders. Feeling he had played well the


last two seasons, Perron decided that if he was going to pursue a career playing international soccer, the time was now.


“I sent numerous tapes and emails to Sweden, Germany, England, and Mexico, really not getting much in return,” Perron said. “Finally, I took a shot in the dark and called my grandfather, who remarried a young Chinese woman. She had some contacts in


Baseball April 9


Chicopee at Minnechaug, 4 p.m. Longmeadow at Central, 4 p.m. Pioneer Valley Christian at Commerce, 4 p.m. Cathedral at South Hadley, 4 p.m. East Longmeadow at Taconic, 4:15 p.m. Dean Tech at Sabis, 4:30 p.m.


April 11


Longmeadow at Cathedral, 3:30 p.m. Sabis at Smith Voc., 3:30 p.m. Ludlow at Minnechaug, 4 p.m. Central at East Longmeadow, 4 p.m. Putnam at Pioneer Valley Christian, 4 p.m.


April 13


East Longmeadow at Belchertown, 3:30 p.m.


Pioneer Valley Christian at Sabis, 3:45 p.m. Agawam at Cathedral, 4 p.m. Minnechaug at Chicopee Comp., 4 p.m. Holyoke at Central, 4 p.m.


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Softball April 9 Cathedral at Northampton, 4 p.m. Pioneer Valley Christian at Mohawk Trail, 4 p.m.


April 10


East Longmeadow at West Springfield, 3:30 p.m. Holyoke Catholic at Sabis, 3:30 p.m. Monson at Central, 4 p.m.


China, and helped me arrange the opportunity to come over here. One of the contacts is the technical director for all of China, and has coached in the professional ranks here.”


UMass head coach Sam Koch


gave Perron permission to spend a month in China to pursue his dream, but upon his arrival, the trip nearly turned into a nightmare. “When I got there, I learned the league does not accept foreign goalkeepers, only field players, as they try to protect a not so great pool of goalies,” Perron explained. “I was devastated. I was that close to my dream of trying out professionally only to have it taken away from me. The same rule is in place for Korea, Japan, and China.” Perron made the most of his


See PERRON on page 31 HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SCHEDULE


April 11 Minnechaug at Holyoke, 4 p.m. Longmeadow at Belchertown, 4 p.m.


April 12


Sabis at Monson, 3:30 p.m. Central at Granby, 4 p.m.


April 13 Belchertown at Minnechaug, 4 p.m. East Longmeadow at Amherst, 4 p.m. Cathedral at West Springfield, 4 p.m.


Boys Lacrosse April 9


Longmeadow at Agawam, 3:30 p.m. East Longmeadow at Minnechaug, 4 p.m. Cathedral at South Hadley, 4 p.m.


April 11 Westfield at East Longmeadow, 4 p.m. Cathedral at St. Mary’s, 4 p.m.


April 13 Minnechaug at West Springfield, 4 p.m. Cathedral at Longmeadow, 4 p.m. Taconic at East Longmeadow, 4:30 p.m.


Girls Lacrosse April 9


East Longmeadow at Holyoke Catholic, 3:30 p.m. Cathedral at Minnechaug, 4 p.m.


April 10 Longmeadow at Westfield, 4 p.m.


April 12 Minnechaug at Longmeadow, 5 p.m.


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