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Former Riverview High soccer player lands pro deal in Spain

Ramon Kique Perales wants to show coaches at Racing Club Portuense that he deserves another contract.

Former Riverview High boys soccer player Ramon Kique Perales has signed to play for Racing Club Portuense in Spain.
Former Riverview High boys soccer player Ramon Kique Perales has signed to play for Racing Club Portuense in Spain.
Courtesy image
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For the next three months, Ramon Kique Perales will play soccer harder than he ever has. 

It's his chance to stick at the professional level in Spain, something that has been his dream since he was old enough to dribble up and down the field. 

In March, Perales — a former Riverview High standout — signed a three-month contract with Racing Club Portuense, a professional soccer team that was founded in 1928 in El Puerto de Santa María, Spain, just outside the southwestern port city of Cádiz. 

The team currently plays in the Primera Andaluza league, on the seventh level of the Spanish professional soccer pyramid. It has played as high as the fourth level of the pyramid in the past, and has participated 19 times in the renowned Copa del Rey, a nationwide knockout tournament started in 1903.

Perales, 18, is now among the team's ranks. He's wanted an opportunity like this for a while, long before his time at Riverview began. Perales was born in Spain and grew up around the game before coming to the U.S. 

"I have always identified with Spain," Perales said. "This game brings so much passion. It means everything in this country. All my summers playing here, being around it, it is what has given me the most happiness."

Ramon Kique Perales (second from right) poses with a group of his new Racing Club Portuense teammates.
Courtesy image

It's the unity of a soccer team that appeals the most to him, he said. It allows for more connection than other sports. 

You raise each other to meet a shared standard, he said, which in turn creates a hunger for success. 

In pursuit of his dream, Perales did not rely solely on his on-field abilities to get him a professional spot. He started marketing himself to scouts and other soccer professionals, especially via LinkedIn. The persistence paid off in 2024, when he got a message that Racing Club was looking for a player to fill in for the rest of the season and liked his film. The club asked him to attend a weeklong tryout, which Perales did. 

Former Riverview High boys soccer player Ramon Kique Perales said his transition to living in Spain has been easy thanks to already speaking Spanish.
Courtesy image

At this point in his career, Perales does not have many nerves, he said. He's either going to perform his best or he isn't, and he's confident in his ability to succeed. In that mindset, Perales expected to impress the Racing Club coaches — but when the club told him it wanted to sign him, he was still stunned by the moment. 

"I stayed focused on this, maybe an unhealthy amount," Perales said. "I stuck to this. It is everything I have ever wanted. It was my highest goal. Finally putting pen to paper, it was as incredible as I imagined." 

Perales' contract will run through the end of the team's season in May, but there's a chance the team could bring him back for next season if he makes a big enough impression. For now, Perales is doing everything he can to make that a reality. He tries to be the first one to the facility and the last one to leave, he said. He also takes note of the other players on the team, learning from some of the savvier veteran players on how to conduct himself. Perales is the youngest member of the team. 

When not on the field, Perales is taking in his new city. He's staying in Cádiz, which he compares to a place like St. Augustine. The buildings there are old, he said, and the streets are usually quiet. But the waterfront view and the historic nature of the place have some appeal.

Unlike most American athletes who travel overseas in pursuit of an athletic career, Perales' transition to Spain has been smooth. He grew up speaking English with his friends and his mother, Jeannie Perales, but he speaks Spanish with his father, Daniel Perales, he said. His grasp of the language wasn't perfect, but it was more than enough to have typical conversations. Living in Spain and using the language every day has further honed his understanding, he said. 

It's a part of living his dream, and Perales is going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts. 

"The passion is so different here," Perales said. "Our team will have away games and fans will travel hours away to come watch and support. And they leave everything out on the field, just like the players. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to play here, and I hope it doesn't stop now."



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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