New Jersey Copa FC goalkeeper Matt Perrella has spent time with Newcastle United, Udinese of, Sporting Kansas City, and the Bethlehem Steel all through his own legwork.
“I’ve always done my own PR and kept my own connections with clubs in case they need someone to call up,” Perrella said, “I’m a firm believer that if you want to get after it, you have to go out on your own, make the connections yourself and not take no for an answer.”
His most recent call-up opportunity was with the Jacksonville Armada of the NASL, where the New Jersey native was called in for the team’s match-up with first place Miami United. Though Miami got the win, the experience was a positive one for Perrella.
“It was good. It’s always good to get into the spotlight where teams can see what level you are, overall it was a really positive week.”
For Perrella, the opportunity was one of several opportunities thanks to his own connections and perseverance. The goalkeeper said he has carved out his own path, a path that started in New Jersey Copa FC’s youth development program, and continued in his time at Durham University in England.
“Durham gave me the opportunity to play clubs from all over England in friendlies. We played Newcastle United in a friendly and that got me invited to one training session with Newcastle, then the next, then the next month, and it allowed me to stay there for a while.”
Perrella also credits his time with Durham for providing him with a plethora of options even back across the pond, and says that his time with Newcastle piqued the interest of a number of teams in America, adding to his list of connections in the States. In between his chances for new clubs, Perrella needed a chance for consistent playing time, something which New Jersey Copa FC offers to the New Jersey native.
“It definitely helps to have a place to consistently play. Being able to play a couple of times a week definitely helps, it’s a good platform. The NPSL has done a good job of expanding and keeping it competitive so guys can stay sharp.”
For New Jersey Copa FC Head Coach Roberto Aguas, Perrella consistently performs to his highest level and is always a help to his team.
“Matt has been a significant part of our success since our launch of New Jersey Copa FC into the NPSL,” Aguas said. “Aside from his play, Matt is a great leader who cares deeply for this team and our program.”
While he admitted that he is always looking for the next opportunity and hopes to play in the NASL or USL before the end of the season, for now, Perrella is committed to helping NJCFC.
“While I’m here and playing I’m certainly trying to help this team. We had a good season last year, and our goal is to push the envelope again.”
As far as his own future is concerned, Perrella is ready for anything.
“I’m willing to go places and do what I have to do. This is the road I’ve set out for myself and I expect to be out there again very soon.”