Football player 2.0
Football writes the most intriguing stories. Playing professional football in countries like Hong Kong and Indonesia is not very common for players from Europe; you could even say it is “exotic”. But as 28 year-old Spanish footballer Xavi Pérez explained in his interview for Fieldoo.com, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad thing. Pérez is currently in his home city of Barcelona waiting if he will return to Indonesia or try to show his potential elsewhere.
After learning football skills in your home country, you decided to move abroad in 2009. First you played in Hong Kong, then in Indonesia. How did all this happen?
I received a call from Josep Gombau, a Catalan coach in Hong Kong, and I had no doubts to try the adventure. The experience was so good that I wanted to try new destinations. I got a contract in Indonesia’s 1st Division, with Persijap Jepara, but it didn’t really work out because of the heavy injury I suffered. Finally, I solved the problem and I was ready to play again. I stayed in Indonesia, playing in the 2nd Division with Pro Duta FC. We gained the promotion to the 1st Division in last season. At the moment, my status is on “stand by”, as nobody really knows when the next season over there will start. If this doesn’t happen soon, I will also welcome a new experience elsewhere.
What is your experience in playing professional football in such “exotic” leagues? What are the main differences?
The experience is amazing and I recommend it to everybody. It’s not easy to make a breakthrough there, as there are a lot of great players trying to seize the opportunity, but if you do, you will learn a lot from it. There were some amazing moments, moments that made me even stronger. I’ve learned a lot about other cultures, it was a really enriching experience. On the other hand, I also missed Europe because of the lack of professionalism over there. Europe is light years ahead, UEFA does a good job of making the system work. In Asia, every country has its own rules.
In Hong Kong, for instance, the most curious thing is that no team has it own stadium. As a communist country all services are public and we had to carry our belongings wherever we trained or played. About Indonesia, I felt sorry that I lost the “changing room moment”. The team should breathe as one, but there everybody goes their own way when the game finishes; even taking a shower at home! For me, having the “changing room moment” is one of the best and most important things in football.
As already mentioned, you’ve started your career in Catalonia, with lower division teams. How was it growing up in such a “football-crazy” environment? Tell us more about your beginnings.
Football is very important in our culture. Actually, I didn’t realize what professional football means until I was 18 years old. Before that, I played football just for fun, enjoying it with my friends, and being in a way disconnected from the real world.
When talking about Catalonia, you can’t avoid FC Barcelona. How do you see the club – it really is more than just that, right?
For Catalan people FC Barcelona is like our flag. It is part of our DNA. All the kids want to be a Barça star. Everyone wants to play there. But they are some of the best players in the world, which makes is pretty hard to achieve. Most of us have to be satisfied playing against them in Youth or Reserve Teams.
Did you get a chance to play against some of their players, maybe in the youth division?
I remember the most shocking experience, when I was still playing in Spain’s lower Divisions and I played against one midfield player who managed to beat me everywhere: in the air, on the ground, he was faster than me, stronger … I asked myself: “Who is this guy!?” Next year he won everything that you can win in the football world – six titles in one year! His name was Sergio Busquets and his coach was Pep Guardiola. Also, Pedro scored in all our games and the team we played against also had some other top level players like Jeffren, Thiago …
Apart from this, I also had the chance to be a coach at the FCB School where you really realize what it means to be part of this big family called Barça. It was interesting to see how everybody observed your movement, looked at you as a role model. All these actions have much impact in society.
Moving from the football field to the internet … Why did you decide to join Fieldoo?
My brother in law Oriol told me once that I am a Football Player 2.0, and I think that is true. I think that nowadays we are living in a new digital culture and we must take advantage of this situation. We have a lot of tools ready to be used and I try to be a step forward; you never know where the contract of your live awaits you and I don’t want to lose an offer just because I was too lazy to create a profile.
My mum was watching TV and she saw an advertisement about Fieldoo and she called at once. I checked it and from that moment I fell in love with Fieldoo because I believe that it has something special.
The first time when you meet a football player’s agent, he asks you about your age, position, CV, videos … And every time I had to answer all these questions, explain my status, send the CV as attached file, and add my YouTube link. Now I just send my Fieldoo link profile to all my contacts and the information goes faster.
I’ve created a screen name fieldoo.com/xaviperezp and the interesting thing is that I also use a nickname “xaviperezp” in other social networks, so it’s like a brand and it’s also easier to be found when googling it.
Why would you recommend other players to use Fieldoo to show their potential?
I already recommended it to all my friends. I think it is very interesting to be visible in digital media platforms and I think everybody should have that in mind when they are looking for a way to find a new team.