In conversation with the Head Coach of the Raptors women's team, Luis Pereira
Luís Pereira became the Head Coach of the Raptors FC women's team in 2018. We decided to do a small interview with him so that we could understand a little of his path.
How did your passion for football start?
I was always passionate about football, at young age I used to play with my friends in the streets and in community football pitches and played for some regional clubs in the Madeira Island. So, this passion is something that is ingrained in me from young age.
How long have you been working with the team?
I have been working with this team since June 2018, the club decided to form a women’s team some months before and were looking for a coach, I was the lucky chosen one to coach the women’s team and it has been an amazing experience since then.
Has it been a challenge for the team? Why?
It has been a challenge every season due to the fact that the team is formed mostly of foreigners, this means that every year we lose players that are crucial for the team so that destabilizes the team a little bit, but as we grow every season, we get more foreign players, and we are attracting more Czech players and that brings always new characteristics and excitement to the to the team.
Can you talk a little about your route in the team?
The team competed for the first time in the season 2018 and we finished 5th place. The 2 seasons after that were cancelled due to Covid-19 and this season we are 1st place undefeated in our league and in the last 16 teams in the FA Cup. I can only say that every year the team gets better and more experienced and that is reflected on the pitch during our games and reflected in our results. And the results of our team would never be the same if we would not have the chance to work with Pete Williams and all the other coaches that were part of the team in the previous years, like Simone D’Andreta, and Giacomo Mercandelli.
What is it like to coach a women's team? Do you feel it's easier, harder, or equal to a men's team?
During my time in UK I coached boys at U12 and U9 level and it was definitely harder to coach them than it is to coach the Women’s team at Prague Raptors.
But it’s never easy to coach a football team, there’s so much to coaching apart from what we see during the games. Coaching a big and diverse group like the one at the Raptors is a good challenge we as management learn how to deal and respect all different cultures, personalities, backgrounds nationalities etc., and most importantly we respect each other no matter what and this is the most important.
And for sure I am super lucky to be a coach in such an amazing group of talented players and exceptional people.
What do you expect will happen differently this season compared to last season?
Well last season we finished 1st place when the League was interrupted due to Covid-19 and the season before that we finished 2nd before the league was canceled due to Covid-19 again, so I really expect and wish that we are able to finish this season as we are isolated on the top of the league and we are very close to promotion into the 3rd league next year.
How do you feel about the game against for the Czech FA Cup against FC Slovan Liberec that play in the first league? Do you think the team will be up to this challenge?
The players are super excited to play against a team that play at the highest level in the country and cannot wait to face FC Slovan Liberec tomorrow. The Team has been amazing with so many exciting performances and showed that they deserve to be in this place that they deserve the opportunity to showcase against such a big team. I’m sure the players are more than up to the challenge and I know that no matter what happens our players will give everything they have on the pitch tomorrow, and no matter of what the result is, the entire club is proud of them and their achievement.
How far do you think you will go?
Every team plays to win and every team playing the Czech FA Cup wants to be get to the final and win it!
And there is nothing like the magic of the FA cup where everything can happen, so we keep dreaming and we will keep pushing our dream as far as we can.
Do you have any news in mind that you want to share about the season and your work?
No news to share, all I want to say is that we will keep fighting for our season goal, which is to be champion and be promoted, we are closer to that goal than ever before, and this is all because of all the hard work done by the management behind the scenes, all the hard work that the players do during the entire season. And due to the support, that we have from our fans that come to support us at our games. I just hope to see more and more of you supporting us through our journey.