Santiago is determined to succeed in England

By Kirra Livingstone

MALENY Rangers football player and Maleny High student, Santiago Avenell Perez, has been selected to play in a UK Football Tour, run by Global Football Network.
Santiago trains multiple times a day, five days a week, and school does not slow down his training intensity.
He brings in his own training cones and ball to school to do agility and fitness training on the netball courts everyday except Wednesdays, and Saturday is his club game day.
“I do a half an hour workout every morning, train at first break but not second break because we aren’t allowed, and try to get a 5km run in every afternoon,” Santiago said.
“I’m motivated because I don’t want to become a person who wakes up, goes to work and then comes home and goes to sleep.”
At this development tour, Santiago will play seven to eight games over 13 days against English youth squads, he will get to train with a pro club and have a game day with them, watch a pro game and get tours of the Anfield and Etihad stadiums.
When Santiago found out he was picked, the deputy principal, David O’Shea, found him literally bouncing with excitement on the way back to class from the office.
“It was actually in class, I got an email from them saying that I made it in and it was a really big shock,” Santiago said.
“I got to leave class and go to the office to call my parents to let them know the good news.
“I was so excited I just couldn’t even work in class.”
The 13-year old football novice has been playing the sport since he was five-years-old, and plays central midfield, central attacking midfield, striker and left wing.
“I love the flow of the game, its so much fun watching the ball move around the pitch so quickly and being able to beat players, being one on one and scoring goals and being able to celebrate,” he said.
“My best game was probably a few weeks ago when we played against the Gympie team, I scored five goals, and got seven assists, and it was good because it was in the rain as well.”
Santiago said his family were all very proud of him, including his uncle who played pro in Germany before suffering a career ending knee injury.
He hopes to play in England or Spain and for Australia in the Olympics as he gets older and more experienced in the sport.
Santiago is raising money for the tour in September, visit to donate.