Hugo Perez takes reins of El Salvador national team



A month after he guided El Salvador at the Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico, U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Hugo Perez has been given the job of leading the senior national team.

Perez's first task will be to qualify El Salvador for the Octagonal, the final round of Concacaf World Cup 2022 qualifying, but the Salvadoran federation is also looking ahead to 2026 when El Salvador presumably should have a better shot at qualifying for the expanded World Cup.

Perez led El Salvador to a 1-1-1 record in Olympic qualifying. Its most impressive result was a 1-1 tie with Honduras, which qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after beating the USA, 2-1, in the semifinals. Perez replaces Mexican Carlos de los Cobos, who had been in charge of La Selecta since 2018. The Salvadoran federation (FESFUT) reached an agreement with de los Cobos, allowing him to step down.

"There are things that I must attend to at the family level," he said at a press conference, "and in a friendly way we have reached this decision."

World Cup 2022 qualifying. If Concacaf had stuck with its original format, El Salvador, ranked sixth in Concacaf, would have joined the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Jamaica in the Hexagonal. Instead, El Salvador is one of 30 teams competing for three berths to join the other five teams in the Octagonal, which begins in September.

El Salvador opened qualifying with a 2-0 win over Grenada and 1-1 tie at tiny Montserrat. It must play the U.S. Virgin Islands and Antigua & Barbuda and two playoff games, if it wins its group, after that, all in June.

El Salvador was without six veterans, including former LAFC forward Rodolfo Zelaya, after they failed to reach an agreement with the FESFUT on the terms of the bonuses for the first stage. Perez said the door was open for Zelaya to return to the team.

U.S. connection. For Olympic qualifying, Perez called up his nephew, Josh Perez (Ibiza in Spanish third tier), and Eric Calvillo (Sam Jose Earthquakes), who both played for the USA at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup. Toronto FC's Eriq Zavaleta, who played for the USA at the 2009 U-17 World Cup, was recently recruited for the senior national team. Gerson Mayen played for the USA at the 2009 Under-20 World Cup in Egypt but has represented El Salvador at the senior level since 2012.
5 comments about "Hugo Perez takes reins of El Salvador national team".
  1. Wooden Ships, April 27, 2021 at 8:20 a.m.

    Good luck Hugo. 

  2. cony konstin, April 27, 2021 at 8:27 a.m.

    Very happy for Hugo and the nation of El Salvador. He will do a great job for El Salvador. 

  3. Santiago 1314, April 27, 2021 at 9:10 a.m.

    Enhorabuena mi Amigo.!!! And Bueana Suerte.!!!  You gonna need it... But, why do I have a Sinking Feeling, that this will come back to Bite USA, in the A$$.!?!?!?

  4. humble 1, April 27, 2021 at 12:23 p.m.

    Good for El Salvador.  US loss is El Salvador's gain. This is ok.  El Salvador never recovered from the scandal of 2011.  Maybe Hugo can fix that.  Lack of competitive games in CONCACAF is something that hurts US and other CONCACAF nations.  Anything that raises our CONCACAF opponents game will force us to raise our game.  This is good.  Wish him all the the best.  

  5. humble 1 replied, April 27, 2021 at 12:27 p.m.

    Let me add this additional bonus for El Salvador. H.Perez is a proven identifier of and developer of talent.  He knows the US system.  Much like the Uruguayans running the Honduran MNT and U23 setup have helped Id and dev Honduran talent, some of which is showing up in MLS, Hugo will very likely expect to have a similar impact on Salvadorano footballers.  Again, wish him and them all the best in this area as well.  Rising tide floats more boats.  Cheers! 

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