Yet if anyone has reason to sit around and ponder life's cruel twists, it's Perez. One of the best U.S. soccer players of his generation, Perez's career is littered with enough near-misses to drive a lesser man insane. He was just coming into his own with the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League when the league went belly-up in 1985. After toiling in indoor soccer for several years, a chance to join up with Johan Cruyff's Ajax side in 1987 was scuttled because he hadn't made enough international appearances to secure a work permit. He was controversially left off the U.S. national team that went to the 1990 World Cup, which in turn prevented him from securing his dream move to Italian side Parma. As a result, his club career was largely played out in obscurity.