Each time Manny Perez took the field, his goal was to be the consummate playmaker for the Flintridge Prep boys’ soccer team.
Perez often proved to be the ideal go-to player for the Rebels, who finished second in the Prep League and made an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs.
Perez’ intelligence and reading of the game were two of the biggest reasons why Flintridge Prep tasted success and played a role in the senior midfielder/forward being tabbed the All-Prep League Most Valuable Offensive Player.
“I have a lot of experience being a playmaker,” said Perez, who finished with a team-best 16 goals and also earned a spot on the all-league first team. “It’s about having the technical skills and trying to take charge.
“As a midfielder, you tend to see a lot more of the field and can make a lot of good runs. It was a goal of mine to be MVP, but I had it in the back of my mind all season long.”
Flintridge Prep went 8-9-4, 4-1-3 in league for 15 points and advanced to the first round of the playoffs.
Perez was one of seven Rebels to secure all-league accolades. Joining Perez were Cole Rademacher and Kurt Kozacik on the first team. Steve Bruno, Bryce Delgado, Daniel Enzminger and Clayton Weirick were bestowed second-team honors.
Flintridge Prep first-year Coach AJ Yates said Perez had the wherewithal to score clutch goals throughout the season.
“He’s got the ability to score and distribute,” Yates said. “With all the playmakers in the Prep League, there are maybe a couple of others who have his skill and ability.
“It’s amazing watching him play at such a high level and do it so calmly. He’s supremely confident with the ball and getting others involved in the play. You never underestimate what he can do out there.”
Rademacher, a junior midfielder/forward, finished with 13 goals to earn a spot on the first team. Kozacik, a senior defender, proved to be a pillar on the back line for the Rebels.
“With Cole’s speed, he was always a dangerous scoring threat,” Yates said. “He’s a different player than Manny and you could see his skills improve as the season moved along.
“Kurt was just a solid all-around defender and was one of the biggest reasons we finished up league with an eight-game unbeaten streak.”
Delgado, a junior midfielder, registered three goals. Enzminger, a junior defender/midfielder, finished with three goals. Bruno, a junior, served as one of Flintridge Prep’s top defenders.
Weirick, a senior goalkeeper, yielded 33 goals. He surrendered only six goals in league and posted three shutouts.