Perea Takes First Step in Pro Career

Inks Contract with Jacksonville Armada

The Club caught up with Nicolas Perea, a Syracuse University product who was a member of Ocean City’s 2013 Eastern Conference Champion and National PDL Finalist squad

By Dan O'Connell
February 23, 2015
Perea battles with Danny Cruz
of the Phialdelphia Union

Ocean City, NJ – The dream of being paid to play the sport that you love and have worked tirelessly to perfect for as long as you can remember may be universal for players like Nicolas Perea, but the path to a professional soccer career is different for nearly every budding pro.

Perea, hailing from Hollywood, FL, started all four years in the Syracuse Orange midfield, tallying 10 goals and three assists in 76 matches. He was named the team Rookie of the Year following his freshman season in 2011 and sported the captain’s armband during his Junior and Senior seasons.

In the summer of 2013, Perea showcased his knack for creating scoring chances at The Shore, netting two goals and dishing two assists in more than 1000 minutes of action. The midfielder lead the Nor’easters into clashes that summer with the professional sides Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Philadelphia Union in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, as well as to a second Mid-Atlantic Division Title in as many years, and a trip to the National Premier Development League Finals. 

Perea in action with Syracuse

Yet early last month when more than 60 of the nation’s top soccer recruits were invited to the MLS Combine, Perea’s name was not on the list. Consequently, Perea’s name was not called in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, arguably the best opportunity for a young player to find themselves in a professional training camp.

In a recent interview with The Nor’easters, Perea spoke about his path to professional soccer, explained how he didn’t see going undrafted as a setback but a motivational tool, and how his summer in an Ocean City uniform prepared him for his pro career.

When asked to describe how it felt to be an undrafted player looking to break into professional soccer, the midfielder explained that keeping a focused approach to any professional opportunities that might arise was key, even with the extra infusion of motivation at not being drafted. An even keel was critical. “I trusted the system,” Perea explained, “but was also motivated to showcase my talent professionally. I know if I am disciplined and keep working hard I will keep growing as a player and person.”

Perea inked his 1st pro deal
with Jacksonville back on February 7th

He credits his agent with making the first connection with the Jacksonville Amada of the North American Soccer League, that proved to be eager to give Perea a professional trial. Once the midfielder hit the pitch in Florida, instinct took over. “When it comes down to it, a trial is just everything you have been doing your entire soccer career. The important part is being focused and on top of your game.”

Perea felt as well-prepared as a budding pro could be as a result of, “the professional environments I have been a part of in the past. Environments like Ocean City, KW United, and Syracuse University. [With the Nor’easters] I was able to participate in the US Open Cup and play against top clubs such as the NY Red Bulls, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and Philadelphia Union. I am very thankful for the opportunities I had. Those experiences have only helped me grow and reach this first step in my professional career.”

Nicolas believes that intangible qualities like his on-field leadership shone through to the Armada, leading to his first professional contract. That, or, “the 20-yard screamer I scored vs. NYCFC” may have gotten the attention of a club, and an entire league in NASL, that just gained a new midfield threat. 

2015 Individual Match and Season ticket packages are on sale now. For more information, call (609) 432-8271 to speak with a Nor'easters ticket representative, email us at, or visit for ticket package information.

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