Flamingos, macaws, jabirus, red-footed boobies, spoonbills, oystercatchers, terns or hummingbirds. The list is endless. With more than 600 different species, Belize is a paradise for ornithologists and bird lovers. None so sought after as the toucan picoiris, the symbol of this small country of Central America with little more than 22,000 square kilometers of surface and a population of 400,000 inhabitants. A natural jewel that attracts tourism due to the crystal clear waters of its beaches and the postcard seabeds that Jacques Cousteau captivated and immortalized through his documentaries. Preferential destination for divers, this enclave between Guatemala and the Riviera Maya has a lot to discover also in football for David perez, a 38-year-old from Madrid who has become the first Spanish coach to undertake the adventure in a championship so distant and unknown. A pioneer.
Married with two children, David Pérez has grown up in the mud fields of the Community of Madrid, but he did not hesitate when he got the opportunity to pack his bags for a country as exotic as it lacked football tradition. Doubts, few. He was quick. “My goal is to continue growing as a coach and participate in an international competition such as the Concachampions, but I also have a personal challenge, that of being able to help professionalize my club and bring it closer to the working methods we use in Spain,” he explains to ABC from Belize. There he signed a few days ago for the modest Greens FC. “Compensating financially always pays off, but I assure you that that was not my priority to come here.”
Only a few days to stay in Belice They have allowed him to realize the enormous interest that Spanish football arouses in this small corner of the world. «There is a lot of idea of Spanish football and of European football in general, more than I thought. It has surprised me”. After having trained in practically all categories of the grassroots football in Madrid, faces a radical change of life in one of the smallest countries in Central America and one of the least populated in the world. Also one of the most unknown. «Belize is a really beautiful Caribbean country, I am more in the interior, in the city of San Ignacio. Here the league is disputed by twelve teams, but we still do not know the start date since it depends on the government and the evolution of the Covid. The idea is for it to be at the end of August ”, predicts a technician who already has international experience in his curriculum because he trained cadets and juniors in a Chinese academy for a year.
Linked for a decade to the lower categories of the CD Mostoles URJC and on his return from China in 2018, he enrolled in the AD Alcorcón to work on his grassroots football until last June he had the opportunity to make the leap in his career in an unusual destination in the world of football. «How did you end up training in Belize? Through a Portuguese representative friend who had already brought several footballers to play here. The opportunity was raised to me last year, but due to the Covid and the difficulties that were generated, I discarded it, but this year they called me again and I embarked on the adventure. At the moment I have signed for six months, “he clarifies.
“I arrived on July 1 and two days later I was already training, I have found a very good group in the squad, both the people from the country and the players from abroad.” Because in the changing room of his new team, despite his modesty, several flags are waving. Three Hondurans, one Brazilian and one striker from Trinidad and Tobago They make up the foreign legion of Verdes FC, a club in which it has more limited means than those enjoyed in teams like Alcorcón. «The facilities are good in relation to what this country is, which after the Covid is suffering too much. There is a lot of desire to improve and, for example, the owners of the club have invested money in the arrangement of the changing rooms. Now I am guiding them on how they can improve everything and I think that little by little we will make a leap in the field of facilities ». Madrilenians around the world, David Pérez, a pioneer in beautiful Belize.