Perez, DuRocher Duel On Soccer Field
Oct. 20, 2009
By Jacob Thorpe
It all started out in good fun. It was supposed to be a cute little webisode in which former Washington quarterback Johnny DuRocher would interview women's soccer star Veronica Perez for the Dawg Dish, an online show hosted by DuRocher. But after an impromptu competition at practice the week before school started, Perez left a little worse for wear.
The show started off innocently enough, with the entire soccer team gathering to watch DuRocher and Perez practice their juggling tricks.
Let it never be said that DuRocher lacks confidence or competitive spirit. While playing football for Oregon, as well as football and baseball for Washington, he developed both of these qualities. Not content to stick to the script and kick around soccer, DuRocher decided he wanted to try something new: scoring a goal.
'We were having fun,' Perez said. 'He messed up a couple of times, but he also pulled off some stuff. I think he built up some confidence, so he said he wanted to score a goal. We decided to play a little one-on-one.'
The rules were simple enough: First, Perez would try to score a goal on DuRocher, and then, he would have his turn.
'I went first,' Perez said. 'I did a little hip-swivel move to the left and put a shot in the back of the net. The girls on the team were cheering. They were all into it.'
It was at this point, perhaps, that DuRocher's competitive spirit kicked in.
'I turn to a couple of teammates and they were like, `Don't let him score, tackle him!'... I went to tackle the ball at the same time he decided to kick the hell out of it,' Perez said.
But the ball wasn't the only thing DuRocher had inadvertently kicked the hell out of.
Teammate Jane Mitchell remembers watching the blood trickle down Perez's leg.
'At first, we were all cheering because she won the ball from this guy twice her size,' Mitchell said. 'Then she was hobbling, and we were all wondering what happened. ... It was a pretty deep gash.'
A pretty deep gash, indeed. DuRocher's shoe had apparently slid down Perez's leg, creating a wound that required 13 stitches to close.
Perez, however, was completely unfazed.
'I thought we were just going to have some big bruises on our shins,' she said. 'But then I looked at his face, and he looked like he was going to throw up. I looked down, and there was a pretty big gash right under my knee.'
Thinking quickly, Perez did what she could to settle DuRocher's queasy constitution.
'He felt really bad, so I thought I'd help him by complimenting him on his good looks,' Perez said.
It's never easy for a coach to see a player get injured, and it never helps when that player is your team's leading scorer. So head coach Lesle Gallimore feared the worst.
'My first thoughts were, `She's really hurt, and she's not going to be able to play,'' Gallimore said. 'Then I thought, `What are you doing, Veronica?' since she's the one who initiated the contact. But our team doctor reassured me that she was going to be OK, and we all went and watched her get stitched up. She was back playing the next weekend, so no harm, no foul.'
The worst part may be that nobody will ever know if DuRocher could have scored a goal on Perez. Perez says it's possible.
'Johnny could be a good soccer player,' Perez said. 'He's tall, likes to tackle and looks strong, so I could see him as a defender. Well, maybe.'
Perez even suggested that a rematch could be fun.
'We could play soccer, tennis or something,' she said. 'A net in between us sounds perfect. No contact.'
Reach reporter Jacob Thorpe at firstname.lastname@example.org