Annie Perez used to be a magician.
Not in the literal sense of Houdini or Abracadabra, but in her own right – with a soccer ball.
“She could do anything with a soccer ball,” said former teammate and Barry head coach Kyllene Carter-Weiss. “That’s why they called her ‘Magic.’”
Perez played on the women’s soccer team at Barry from 1984-1988 and her 37 goals and 14 assists were both school records when she graduated. Her fondest memories of college include playing the sport she loves and being with her teammates, who still keep in touch after nearly 20 years.
“College helped me mature a lot,” Perez remembered. “The small learning community kept me focused and on task.”
Perez will always be remembered by the Barry faithful as the first-ever All-American honoree in school history. Her legacy at Barry also includes three All-Region honors, three All-State selections, one NCAA Tournament Team selection, and two Barry Athlete-of-the-Year awards.
“I was very proud [of the All-American honor],” Perez stated. “At that time, collegiate soccer was not a big thing, so it was nice.”
As good a legacy as Perez left behind her at Barry, the contribution she currently leaves in the classroom is much more rewarding.
You see, Perez has been a school teacher for the past 19 years.
Graduating from Barry with a degree in communication arts, teaching was not exactly the first profession on Perez’s list. In fact, she had planned on working for a news or radio station. But sometimes things don’t happen the way you plan.
Perez’s assistant coach at the time was impressed by her leadership qualities and asked her to coach the girl’s soccer team at the high school where he worked. However, in order to become a coach, Perez first had to become a teacher. So after getting her physical education certificate, Perez went to teach and coach at the high school. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“I love what I do and I love going to work,” Perez explained. “And I really didn’t know that [teaching] would be the role in my career,” she remarked.
Perez is now the department head and adapted physical education teacher at American High School in Hialeah, Fla. In addition to teaching, Perez has also coached the girl’s soccer team for 16 years and currently coaches the cross country team as well. And in her spare time, she is a personal trainer and a guest soccer coach.
Perez certainly seems content in her role and plans to continue teaching, coaching, and training for many years to come. But is there more for her in the future?
Only time will tell. You know what they say – a magician never reveals her secrets.