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Caracas-native forward Jansse Pérez (JP9) spent 14 years with professional clubs in Venezuela and Switzerland – most notably BSC Young Boys and FC Grenchen. From the time he was a youth player, he was called up to play for La Vinotinto, the Venezuelan national team, eventually reaching the senior squad.
After retiring from professional soccer in 2013, he began his career as a coach, later earning a Master’s Degree in Football Management from the Real Madrid Graduate School– Universidad Europea.
He still lives in Madrid, where he coaches youth teams at A.D.C. Brunete in Getafe, and where he’s working on an advanced coaching license (UEFA A) from the Royal Madrid Football Federation, as well as a Master in Psychology and Coaching for elite and high-performance athletes.
Women United spoke with Jansse via e-mail about his transition from a player to coach: his club days on both continents, the importance of athlete education, and how to best prepare for life after playing.
At what point in your career as a player did you decide to become a coach?
There wasn’t an exact moment. When you are an active player, you try to give your best every year and you don’t want to think about retiring. However, after you turn 30, you sense that your career as a professional player is ending.
But one thing I was sure of was that I wanted to continue being linked to football, because in addition to it being my sport, my hobby and my profession for many years, I also liked helping young people who were growing up and making a place for themselves in professional football. I discovered that I was a good leader and I liked to manage, which is one of the closest ways to being on the field.
Having already realized that when I retired I wanted to be a professional football coach, I started to prepare myself academically with this objective in mind, so that I would be qualified even before my retirement as a player.
How would you compare your experience playing in South America and Europe?
I believe that in South America there is a natural-born talent, a different type of a player, one who develops individual skills and the ability to perform in hostile environments, often in uneven conditions: a street player.
Now, crossing the Atlantic and making the jump to European football generates contrast, there is a difference, no doubt. Not only as a social and cultural reality, but as a sporting characteristic. Starting from the punctuality of national flights, to the tremendous organization in every detail. The location on the field, the order and systematization of work, the leading edge of great clubs, as well as the individual characteristics of players.
The competition in Europe is more even: from external factors to players, facilities, and amenities.
For example, field conditions (they are much faster and always wet) and shorter travel times (most of the time the distances are smaller and cities better connected) help the player get more rest. You also have access to different resources, equipment, and tools to help maximize your performance.
How did you manage to balance football and school?
From the moment you go to school, parents begin to instill in you that “you have to study to be someone in life.” But, I thought otherwise. I thought that by playing football and being a professional, I would be happy and make my dreams come true. That’s what being someone in life meant to me.
However, my parents made me realize that in order to play, I first had to study. That way I understood that I was going to be a smarter player and that I had to study, so I no longer saw studies as a burden, but as part of being a professional footballer.
It was possible because my class schedule was from 7am until 12pm and then I went to football training at 4pm. At the university it was a bit more difficult because the schedules varied and I had to study during my breaks, something that’s very difficult for any athlete.
What advice can you give young players about career planning?
I’d tell them to set objectives and goals, to continue working towards them without losing focus. No matter how hard the road seems, go firmly one step at a time.
I’d say that if they have a passion for what they do, if they are confident, they should make the most of each day and each training. Because it’s one more day of happiness and it won’t be the same when they retire. Football is a wonderful sport, full of values that not only prepare you for football, but also for life.
Also, live each day with humility and learn from each situation, either good or bad. Don’t stop trying, instead improve every time. As much as you have enjoyed your career, you will always miss being there again and wanting to do things that you didn’t do at the time, so don’t stop enjoying it and giving your 110%.
And as far as life after playing?
Part of life after playing is about how satisfied you are with yourself, about the things you were able to achieve throughout your career. After that, it will depend on your plans, decisions, and things you enjoy doing.
In my case, before retiring I prepared the transition to a new stage in my life within football, but in a different position.
It is difficult to separate yourself from something you have done almost all your life and that is part of your identity, but it is a situation that you knew would come one day. That’s why we must plan before that happens, whether you want to continue within the sport or not, and to make the transition more bearable.
Tell us about your experience at the Real Madrid Graduate School.
The master’s program at Universidad Europea was the best academic experience of my life. It’s the number one program in the world in its field.
Success is not a coincidence. I start with the idea that we must prepare ourselves to be excellent and be ready for whenever the opportunity presents itself. But to be at the forefront and maintain success we must be learning all the time and keep up with the evolution of things, in this case everything surrounding football.
Getting educated will make you aware of how to manage a team – from the simplest to the most complex situations – and how to turn a child into a professional player. It will also help you get the most out of every detail.
What’s next for you?
In the next few years I’m going to continue with my preparation, both theoretical and practical. Along with real-life experiences, it will give me a foundation and the perfect tools to return to professional football, this time in another role on the field.