Some people are defined by their communities and some communities are defined by their people. Paul Pereira is one person who fits into both categories.
Pereira was not one to stray far from his home within the Village of Mineola, having graduated from the as a member of the class of 1989 and earning a bachelor of science in history at nearby in 1993.
“I wanted to return to the Village of Mineola to teach,” Pereira said. “It was the place where I grew up and I had many fond memories of living there.”
He has been a fixture in the community ever since.
Today the 40-year old Pereira can be found wearing several other hats as in addition to teaching he is a member of the where he currently serves as deputy mayor and on the sidelines of the high school soccer field as head coach of the varsity boys team.
When he first started teaching, Pereira took after school jobs coaching soccer and wrestling at the .
"I played soccer when I attended Mineola so I had a passion for the game to begin with,” he recalled.
After 4 years the varsity coaching job became available along with the challenge of a team that had only made the conference playoffs once in the last 20 years.
"It was a team that had a rough go of it for awhile,” Pereira said. “I set out on building a program that would be competitive each and every time they stepped on the field."
In the last 15 seasons Pereira garnered a 126-81 record, 20 shy of Mineola’s all time record held by coach Frank Carboine (1964-83) and the Mustangs have made the playoffs 11 times, including winning the Long Island Championship in 2005.
In the last 3 years the team has also made the list of New York State' Scholar-Athlete award teams.
“I think it's great that some of our players have been able to use soccer as a vehicle to go on to achieve bigger and better things,” Pereira said of the players who have gone onto colleges like RPI, Fairfield, NYU and Baruch. “That is the thing that I am most proud of.”
It was in 2008 where , Pereira’s friend of 30 years, first approached him about running for trustee on the village board.
“We grew up together and have been close friends for a long time,” Pereira said of the former . “My stint on the board has been an awesome learning experience. I love the fact that I'm able to participate in what's going on in my community and am able to be involved in the decision making process.”
In addition to being counted as a member of the Lions Club and , Pereira is also a former President of the Board at the Portuguese Center School from 2000-2009 and runs a soccer camp company called ‘Eurostar Soccer’ during the summer season.
With all of the duties and raising son Andrew and daughter Sophia, both Pereira and his wife keep a full calendar on their wall in order to figure out their daily schedule.
“Without it we'd both be in a lot of trouble,” he laughed. “My wife and I try to work out a good balance with both me and her working and spending time with our kids. We try to do the best we can with the childcare and babysitting but at times it does get a little hairy.”