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Girls soccer AOY

Pereira's year in Stuttgart ends with team regaining championship

Stuttgart's Camille Pereira, left, clears the ball past Naples' Cora Houseworth during the DODEA-Europe soccer championships in Reichenbach, Germany, on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES

By GREGORY BROOME | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 1, 2018

As she made her transition from the Vilseck Falcons to the Stuttgart Panthers this spring, senior girls soccer star Camille Pereira was ready to make any contributions she could to the Panthers’ latest run at a European championship.

Turns out she could contribute an awful lot.

Pereira turned out to be the perfect centerpiece of Stuttgart’s high-powered offense, an unselfish distributor surrounded by some of DODEA-Europe’s most effective finishers. The combination led to an undefeated season and the 2018 Division I European championship for the Panthers; for Pereira, it yielded the tournament’s MVP honor and, now, the 2018 Stars and Stripes girls soccer Athlete of the Year award.

Stuttgart, having won the 2016 title and lost the 2017 title in a shootout, was not a program in need of a savior. When she learned she’d be transferring from the Falcons to the powerhouse Panthers for her senior year, Pereira was simply looking forward to an extended playoff run.

“I was really excited,” Pereira said. “I knew they were a really good team.

“I was just looking to fit in wherever...they needed me.”

Talented though they were, the Panthers had a vacancy for a player of Pereira’s specific talents. Loaded with established scorers, Stuttgart was in need of a midfield fulcrum to place the ball at their feet.

It’s hard to imagine a more serendipitous meeting between new player and new team.

“That’s kind of the player I am anyway,” Pereira said. “I’m not the kind to go and score like four goals during a game. I’m one of the people to set other people up.

“So I fit in really well with this team.”

Pereira ended up doing a little bit of everything for the Panthers. She produced six assists and nine goals over the course of the season; Stuttgart coach Billy Ratcliff said her arrival “solidified the middle of the field defensively and offensively for us.”

That’s a lot to ask for a newly-arrived player. Pereira was happy to deliver.

“It took us a little bit to kind of figure each other out,” Pereira said of her new teammates. “Once we did, our game plan worked out perfectly.“

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

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