Danae: You have an incredible football resume, can you tell me the best experience you’ve had in football over the years?
Luis: It’s hard to pick one, I’ve been really lucky and have had a lot of great experiences. For me, it’s the love from the fans, in general, that has been the best for me. I was playing in El Salvador recently, the love of the game, the passion of the fans was just a great overall experience for me as a player. But if I had to name one, my first professional contract playing for my home town club in Medellin, Nacionale. My first team, in front of my home town, I was only 19 and my dad even played for them when he was younger, that was very special.
Danae: What advice can you give young Canadian & Colombian players who are hoping to play professionally?
Luis: Stay consistent, stay hungry and never settle. I find talent isn’t always enough, in South America we have a lot of talent, but the talent doesn’t always see success. If you don’t stick to it, and you don’t believe in yourself you won’t make it, you have to believe in yourself! Work ethic is also extremely important. Look at Ronaldo, his work ethic is like no other, and he actually comes from a very small island in Portugal, so even if you’re from a small region like Ronaldo, as long as you work hard and believe you can do it, you can find success!
Danae: Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Luis: Dogs, for sure. You can’t trust cats, they are sneaky. Dogs are more friendly, more lovable.
Danae: What kind of music do you listen to? Any recommendations?
Luis: I love music, I would like to be a DJ once I finish my football career. I love electronic music, jazz, hip hop, bossa nova which is beautiful, it’s Brazilian music. I also really like Anderson Paak, he’s great!
Danae: We know your father is quite the accomplished soccer player, can you tell me more about your family?
Luis: Yes! I have a sister named Melissa, she’s 29, she lives in Miami and works with children with autism. My mother Soreli Perea and of course my father, Luis Carlos Perea also live in Miami, most of my extended family are still in Colombia in Medellin. My mom is definitely my number one fan. Honestly, its thanks to my mom that I’m playing soccer. She’s been there since the beginning, through the tough times she has always remained positive.
Danae: You have 11,300 followers on Instagram, that’s a lot! For the Canadians looking to get more followers on Instagram, can you give any advice?
Luis: To be honest, take a lot of pictures and pick the best one and always promote a positive attitude. When you are positive and real, people like that and they will follow you. Being consistent, posting every day, being active, using music in your stories is good too! Also hashtags are a big one, use them in your captions, that will get you more followers for sure.
Danae: You’ve played with Juan Diego previously in Peru, what’s he like on and off the pitch?
Luis: On the pitch, he’s really fast, agile, he likes to hustle and works really hard for every play. He’s really smart and a good decision maker. Off the pitch, he’s a really nice guy, always down to help you out, always positive, always happy. He thinks about soccer ALL the time, he really loves the game.
Danae: You HAVE to pick one: Radamel Falcao or James Rodriguez?
Luis: Falcao, I actually played with him when i was 18 at a River Plate trial. I got to play with Higuain at River as well. But Falcao is just so good, it’s unfortunate he has had so many injuries, but he’s a great player.
Danae: A match between River Plate and Boca Juniors or a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, what’s more exciting to watch?
Luis: Boca versus River! It’s definitely more exciting because of the fans, even the commentators make it more exciting.
Danae: Do you have any hidden talents?
Luis: I wish, I think just football. Well, actually, I have a great ear for music, so that’s a talent of mine. I have a few friends here in Miami who are music producers and they always tell me I have a good ear for music.
Danae: You seem like a pretty fashionable guy, can you give us Canadians some advice?
Luis: Well, I’m not sure, my style here in Miami is much different than what a Canadian would wear because of the cold, so I may need lessons when I get to Halifax. But here in Miami it’s all about sunglasses, they are a big fashion statement, you should have a few different pairs for different occasions.
Juan Diego Gutierrez
Danae: It sounds like in Peru you already have a well established nickname, Guti. Is this what you’d like our fans to call you?
Juan Diego: Yes, that’s what they call me here in Peru. It’s no problem if the fans in Halifax call me Guti, it’s good.
Danae: You had the chance to play with your teammate Luis Alberto Perea in Peru. What is he like on and off the pitch?
Juan Diego: On the pitch, he is really strong, he keeps the ball well and he can score lots of goals. Off the pitch, he’s a really good guy. He’s honest, just a really good person, maybe a little bit shy, he’s not that big of a talker, but a good guy.
Danae: There are some very high altitudes in Peru, the town of Cusco for example is 3500 metres above sea level. Have you ever played in high altitude climates? How did you find it?
Juan Diego: Every year I play in high altitudes, my last team we played around 3000 metres above sea level, it’s definitely not easy because the air is so thin. It takes some time to get used to it, but you really never fully adapt. The first games were really hard, you slowly will adapt, but never 100%.
Danae: What are you most excited for your move to Canada?
Juan Diego: Really, I’m excited about the league. I just love to play football, and I can’t wait to get back on the pitch and enjoy it with the fans and my teammates. It’s going to be a new life for me so it’s going to be a challenge, but I like challenges.
Danae: If you couldn’t be a professional football player, what would your career be?
Juan Diego: Oh no….I need to think about that one, maybe homeless? No just kidding, maybe a football coach. I just love football so much I would try to stay involved.
Danae: Can you tell me about your family?
Juan Diego: It’s me, my mother and my father and my sister Morella, we all live here in Lima. My whole family loves football as much as me, but my girlfriend is definitely my number one fan, her name is Aloma, she is hoping to come to Canada to support.
Danae: When you leave your home in Lima, what will you miss most?
Juan Diego: My dog for sure! His name is Ramon, he is a Golden Retriever. Ramon is about six and a half years old now, I’m going to miss him a lot. Also my sisters daughter, I love her so much. Her name is Valentina, she’s three years old, I will definitely miss her a lot, she’s actually right next to me right now.
Danae: If you could vacation anywhere in the world where would you go?
Juan Diego: Maybe Greece, it’s a beautiful country. I went to Greece in 2014 when I had an opportunity to play, that was in Athens. I also went to a few islands which were very beautiful, but I want to go back and maybe go to Mykonos, I heard that Island is beautiful.
Danae: What was the best moment for you in your football career?
Juan Diego: In 2016, when I was playing for Universitario, there was a match on my birthday against the club I had previously played for. I scored two goals that day, and we won 2-0, we played two more matches that week and ended up winning the league! That whole week was amazing.
Danae: What do you do before a game to prepare yourself?
Juan Diego: For me, just keep my mind on other things so I don’t stress and stay relaxed.
There you have it, a little more information on our South American attacking duo. Luis and Juan Diego are excited to get back on the pitch, and we’re equally excited to see what their partnership can do for the club come kick-off April 28th versus Pacific FC.