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Jersey Number: 15
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Former club: Virginia Tech
At just 20 years old, midfielder Danny Pereira made headlines nationwide when he was chosen as Austin FC's No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. Now, he's continuing to attract the press as he appears to hold the starting right midfield position with the MLS's newest club.
But before he graced national news, Pereira was flying a bit more under the radar. Pereira made All-ACC Freshman honors in his first season with Virginia Tech and managed a goal and an assist as he started in all seven games of the Hokies' COVID marred 2020 season, but he still wasn't expected as the SuperDraft's No. 1 pick.
With Virginia Tech, Pereira started in all 26 appearances with the team, landing five goals and five assists to start his college career. After a slow start, Pereira suddenly rose to be one of the team's top playmakers, Hokies Head Coach Mike Brizendine said.
"At the end of the year, he was running the team in his play …he was calling the shots," Brizendine told Sports Illustrated. "In all my years of coaching here at Tech, almost 20 years, I've never seen a young man as quick as him. His first three steps are electric."
His college success translated into the professional realm. As a sophomore, Pereira decided to forgo his last two years of eligibility and signed with generation Adidas, which gives young players the opportunity to sign professionally in the SuperDraft. Although he was projected as a top-five contender, it still came as a surprise for many, including Pereira himself, to see his name flash Verde as the No. 1 overall pick. Pereira was the first Venezuelan player in history to make the No. 1 SuperDraft pick.
"My whole life, I was always the star," Pereira said. "But coming here I'm surrounded by stars. So it's just a great feeling. I like that competitiveness that we have in practices and in games."
With Austin FC
Pereira in his MLS debut against LAFC. (Austin FC/Instagram)
Pereira was the youngest player on both sides of the pitch for his MLS debut against LAFC. With the combined pressure of the club's inaugural match and his first professional appearance, Pereira said he had to shake off some nerves as the game began.
"It was a lot of emotions going on," Pereira said. "I had a bunch of people back home that were watching me so I was nervous. I'm not gonna lie... I was nervous the beginning, but as soon as I started playing, I forgot about everything."
Pereira held his own in his first pro match, helping hold a solid midfield line alongside Ring and Pochettino. Josh Wolff said he was impressed with Pereira's adjustment in his first pro match.
"For Pereira, I think it was a solid day for a young kid coming in his first MLS game against that opponent," Wolff said.
Pereira was picked more for depth than for an immediate starting spot, so it meant even more when he scored in Austin FC's first-ever preseason match against OKC Energy. To close out the preseason, Pereira landed a final goal off penalty kicks in the La Copita match against FC Dallas before setting his sights for the club's first season opener.
Despite edging out the competition for the LAFC match, teammate Diego Fagundez is still a contender for Pereira's starting spot. Pereira said he recognizes the pressure's on as they compete for the starting spot.
"It's a fight," Pereira said. He's a veteran... I'm the young kid. But at the end of the day, it's just soccer... No matter who starts, we're all in this together."
Off the pitch
Pereira smiles from the Austin FC bench. (Austin FC/Instagram)
Pereira moved to Virginia from Caracas, Venezuela when he was 15. Before he made it to the States, he was doing well on Venezuela's U-14 and later U-17 national teams, but political and economic strife in the country prompted the family to leave Pereira's first home.
When he arrived, Pereira didn't speak English. He missed his home and didn't know what it meant when he made the varsity team as a freshman at his high school.
Now, he's one of the team's few bilingual players. He helps to bridge the gap between Spanish-speaking and English-speaking players, and at 20, he also joked that he is often the team's "Uber driver."
"It's awesome being bilingual," Pereira said. "It gives you opportunities in every single area... it obviously brings me closer to the Spanish guys... Sometimes at practice, when we're doing drills, I'll translate for them."
Pereira got his start playing soccer at five years old, according to Sports Illustrated. He played alongside his half-brother Alexei. Even though his brother was seven years older, Pereira kicked the ball around with Alexei and his older friends. Now, he's doing much of the same on the Austin FC pitch.
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Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.
The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.
Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.
The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.
No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.
According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.
Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be
The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.
Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.
Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."
"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.
This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.
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Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.
APD is working a suspicious death near the 1900 block of W Rundberg Ln. PIO is en route and will update with media staging location. PIO6
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) June 12, 2021
Police originally responded to Ironhorse Flats Apartments, 1900 block of W. Rundberg Lane, at 3:20 p.m. when they found the woman with multiple gunshot wounds. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:07 p.m.
No one is in custody as of yet but police are speaking with potential witnesses. Officials said they believe this was an isolated incident with no danger to the public but said possible relation to the downtown shooting has not been specifically ruled out.
Officers could not provide a suspect description and the relationship to the victim is still unknown.
This is a developing story that will be updated as details become available.
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