Former Mexican international Luis Ernesto Perez was named Coach of the U17 Mexican National team. Perez will replace Marco Antonio “Chima” Ruiz, who took the U17 Mexican NT to second place in the 2019 U17 World Cup, but left the job to become an assistant to Ricardo Ferretti in Tigres. Perez will be making his head coaching debut, but he had been working as sports director of the youth teams in CD Toledo in the Spanish third division. Perez will be in charge of the team that will participate in the 2021 U17 Concacaf Championship which will give four tickets to the 2021 U17 World Cup. Unfortunately because of the COVID-19 pandemic, both tournaments have yet to announce the dates of when they will take place.
Luis Ernesto Perez was a standout player during his career in Mexico. Perez came through Necaxa youth system and stood out before having a great career in Monterrey . Perez’ best tenure was during the Ricardo Lavolpe era (2003-2006) where Perez played in most tournaments including the 2004 Olympic games, the 2005 Confederations Cup, and the 2006 World Cup. In the World Cup he did well up until the thirrd match where he got red carded against Portugal after getting his second yellow card. This not only hurt the team in what would be an eventual loss, but he would miss the Round of 16 game against Argentina where Andres Guardado would shine in his place. After 2006, Perez’ career started to dwindle, although he was solid in Monterrey before going to Chivas and decreasing his level of play. He would end up being loaned out to Queretaro, Jaguares, and again to Monterrey before calling it quits. After his retirement, he went to CD Toledo, a third division club that is owned by Mexican Jorge Berlanga, where he became the youth director and later assistant.
Mexico is a powerhouse of U17 category, where they won two World Cup titles. While there weren’t many hopes for the 2019 U17 World Cup, under Coach Ruiz they went all the way to the final, where they lost in the final minutes to hosts Brazil. Thus Perez will have his work cut out for him in the job, as he needs to accomplish a similar path to be a success when even a coach that wasn’t as highly regarded as Ruiz, had certain success.