Perez happy with deciding on Eastern


Justin Brown

Eastern sophomore golfer Romeo Perez recently wrapped up the fall schedule competing in four events with a average stroke score of 76.73 to lead the Panthers. Perez, from Paris, France has competed in 31 rounds for the Panthers averaging 78.23 strokes per round.

Vince Lovergine, Men's Golf Reporter

Sophomore Eastern golfer Romeo Perez had no idea what Eastern had to offer when he committed to play golf here.

“I didn’t know much about Eastern or even college,” he said. “I looked at a campus map of the school and looked at the roster, but that’s it.”

Perez never had the chance to visit since he is from Paris, but he had a recruiter get him on the right path.

When Perez started the recruiting process, a couple of his friends who previously played at Eastern and on his club team, told Perez to use the recruiter they had used.

Perez said his recruiter Benoit Matival is well known in France and if anyone wants an opportunity, athletes use him to get recruited.

Ultimately what helped Perez make his decision, was coach Mike Moncel assuring him he would get him going once he arrived at Eastern.

“Coach Moncel told me ‘(I) will play you right away if you come,’” Perez said. “I said ‘I’m going to give it a try and if I don’t like it, I can still go home,’ but I wanted to give it try.”

It was not until Perez’s senior year of high school, that he put together a video to provide coaches a chance to see talent.

Part of the process requires the athletes include their average scores from there club team and also a motivation letter stating why they want to play in the United States and how it will benefit them.

Perez said they must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test, which is similar to the ACT or SAT in the United States. They need to pass the test to be accepted to the school and play on the team.

Perez had Division II colleges in Arkansas and Philadelphia giving him looks, but being from France, Perez did not know the difference in competition.

“I didn’t really know the difference between Division I or Division II,” he said. “I chose to play at smaller Division I school because I thought it would be a better fit.”

Making the transition from a different culture for Perez was tough and he said golf has helped him a lot.

“It was big because I wanted to learn English, but my English was really bad before coming here,” he said. “I didn’t have any choice. I’ve spoken English since the first day I’ve gotten here, but the guys on the team are nice with me when I had any problems or with the language.”

Perez said it’s expensive coming to Eastern as an international student, but he thinks he made the right choice, he said.

“I think it’s a good investment because I (can) play a sport and go to school at the same time and I also learned English which is also good for the business world, and I’m just making best friends, Perez said.” 

Perez would not have been able to play golf and go to school in France. Perez said he if stayed in France he would not play golf and focus on going to law school or business school.

Perez has enjoyed his time at Eastern so far.

“I really like it,” he said. “I think this year is more interesting because we’re practicing more which is good. But I also liked my first year as well. It was so good to meet new people, see a new culture and a new country.”

Perez is more comfortable to the big city feel in Paris, rather than a smaller city like Charleston.

“It felt weird because I didn’t know what I would do in the winter when we don’t have practice or anything, which was a big change but now being more adaptive to the city, it isn’t as bad,” Perez said.

Besides golf, Perez also has discovred other interests since coming to the United States, such as basketball and “enjoying the moment with my friends.”

Being a management business major, Perez wants to start his own business, but doesn’t have a concentration just yet. Perez said he wants to go back to France to attend graduate school, but still has not made a full decision on it yet.

Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]