Jose Perez was one of eight street soccer players chosen to compete in the Every Street United competition in Rio. The event aims to find the best street soccer player in the world.
Richard Apetor of Ghana, Nabil Akaazoun of the Netherlands, Ben Jackson of the United Kingdom, Seung Min Lee of South Korea, Sergio Leandro Oliveira Jr. of Brazil, Miguel Calero of Spain, Jordan Mariani of Argentina and Perez of the United States were selected by legendary footballers Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids.
The series is available exclusively on Xbox Live. While the football action has been fierce for eight episodes, the series also delves into the personal struggles for all eight of the young men involved.
Here’s a trailer for the series.
Judging by this fan tweet, the series is clearly accomplishing its goal.
If you haven’t checked out ESU yet, it’s totally worth a look.
Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with Perez about his involvement in ESU. He talked about how street soccer has impacted his life and what’s at stake for him and the seven other young men competing in Rio.
BM: Jose, talk about some of the differences between street soccer and the game on the grass pitch.
JP: The difference between street soccer and field soccer is simple. In field soccer, you play 11 players to a side and in street soccer there isn't a limited number you can use.
It could be 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 and so on. On the field, you touch the ball more and keep it simple, while in street soccer the objective is more individual humiliation. In street soccer, you can play anywhere, anytime. As for field soccer, it can only be played on a field.
BM: You're a part of the “Every Street United” Xbox Originals series. Tell me a little about that and what your role is with the series.
JP: “Every Street United,” is a reality TV show only available on Xbox. It’s about eight unknown street soccer players from around the world coming together to show the culture and style of soccer in their home countries.
The players were chosen to represent their country in a 4v4 street soccer game in the center of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while the World Cup took place. Coached by Henry and Davids, the ultimate game is set, and the prize for the winning team is a tryout for the MLS Seattle Sounders.
I am one of the unknown players in “Every Street United,” representing the red, white and blue. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a shot at making my dream to play professionally come true.
BM: How big do you envision ESU becoming? Is it a series that you think can continue to grow year after year?
JP: I envision “Every Street United” being a big hit, but like everything, it takes time to grow. It’s something you don't see every day.
I'm positive that soccer fans all over the world want to see the differences in street soccer among cultures. I believe the series will grow and inspire others to get better. If it continues to go on giving players a chance to succeed in life, it will definitely be a big attraction.
BM: I know the game helped to keep you out of trouble as a young man. How do you see it affecting youth all over the world?
JP: Soccer kept me away from gangs, drugs and vandalism. It gave me a real reason to be different. Being recognized for your skills and being able to share them with others with the same passion is like being in a big family that understands you.
Every country has similar problems when it comes to gangs. Soccer is an outlet not only for the youth but people of all ages around the world. At times, it is the only reason you keep striving to get better.
BM: The U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup; what would you say was the biggest element missing?
JP: I think the biggest element missing, and the reason why the U.S. got eliminated, is because they never change the style of their game play.
They don't know how to use the young players wisely. At times you have to risk everything to succeed. You’re only successful when you fail because even then you are winning knowledge.
BM: Thanks for your time Jose. Tell us again how to get access to the ESU series on Xbox.
JP: You can watch the Xbox Originals series “Every Street United” only on Xbox. You can download the “Every Street United” app on Xbox One or Xbox 360 or watch through Xbox Video.
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