Matt Perrella signed with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL last week, the goalkeeper’s second chance on the professional level this summer following a short loan to the NASL’s Jacksonville Armada. For Perrella, signing with the Riverhounds means his philosophy is paying off.
“I’m staying in line with my focus and that’s what’s driving my success. It’s a great opportunity…I feel fortunate and thankful for it.”
Perrella, who held it down between the sticks for New Jersey Copa FC this summer, has spent time with a number of teams both overseas and in the United States over his career, including spending time in the Newcastle United system while he attending Durham University in England.
Perrella prides himself on maintain a vast network of coaches and teams, and he’s willing to go wherever it takes to help advance his career. Now that he’s there, Perrella is going to do the best he can to help the team.
“You’re not going to be handed games, but certainly the chance to win games and play is going to be there. If my number is called I’m going to be ready to do the job.”
For the Riverhounds and Head Coach Dave Brandt, they feel fortunate to have a competitor like Matt who could come in on short notice.
“We feel really lucky to have found Matt at this late date in our season,” Brandt said. “He is very much a quality goalkeeper at our level and has been excellent in training over the two weeks he has been here in Pittsburgh.”
Perrella joins fellow NPSL alum Trey Mitchell in Pittsburgh, giving the Riverhounds a potent 1-2 punch at the goalkeeper position.
With the opportunity coming with just a couple months left in the season, it could be understandable that Perrella would feel some pressure to prove himself, but the New Jersey native doesn’t see it that way.
“Certainly you need to be competing everyday, if you don’t there’s always going to be someone else. I don’t think there’s any pressure, the preparation will speak for itself it will do what it needs to do. Hard work works.”
While Perrella has a number of his own connections, he knows NJCFC and the NPSL helped him get this opportunity.
“The biggest thing with Copa FC was the platform to play. Copa FC does its part to compete with teams across the league and make sure it’s a good platform.”
For New Jersey Copa FC Head Coach Roberto Aguas was not surprised to see Perrella get a shot with a professional side.
“He has worked tirelessly to continue to create new opportunities for himself. As a result he now has a shot to be successful in the second-tier of professional soccer here in the States. “
For Perrella, that chance to be successful starts with the accomplishment of small milestones in the process of building up to large ones.
“I have big, big ideas in my head but the goals have to stay small. My goal right now is to just earn my first start and I have to keep working hard until the first start…I keep my goals short-term but in the long-term they would add up to something like ‘can I push myself to be a starter in this league and show people I can really play?’ Because I have no doubt that my abilities can do that.”
Perrella’s career could take a huge step during his time with the Riverhounds, but no matter what happens next, he will always be ready for his next chance.