Is Chino Pérez Going to be the Next Food Network Star?

The Tacoma Defiance playmaker is turning into a saucier.

While his roommates are filling the house with music, Chino Pérez can generally be found in the kitchen. The former University of Illinois-Chicago and Akron #10 is the maestro of something else during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pérez is taking advantage of the spare time to grill steak, roast corn, and experiment with flavor profiles and new recipes. He’s trying to make “the perfect sauce.” And not just one. Fettucine Alfredo is one of his early attempts and now he’s going to keep challenging himself.

“I like going to the grocery store and just buying a lot of stuff to make my own sauces, just trying to do different stuff. Cooking has been the thing that’s taken up more time [during the pandemic].”

He keeps looking for more inspiration, usually on the Food Network’s website.

At 22, the Chicagoland product is challenging himself to learn a new skill on his workout days. The squad mixes in cardio, calisthenics to maintain strength, some soccer drills, and regular yoga. The yoga is Chino’s favorite exercise day, because “it’s the best feeling afterwards.”

On Tacoma Defiance rest days, he’ll take it a bit more chill – lounging as Shandon Hopeau and Nick Hinds (former Akron teammate) play their differing island beats. They’ll play Fortnite and FIFA together.

Chino also plays a lot of FIFA to keep in touch with his godson and cousins back in Illinois. Sometimes his aunt and uncle will hop on the mic while the cousins play, so he reconnects with them while still playing.

He also keeps in touch with former teammates back at UIC. Those friends played just one game of their spring schedule. Similar to Defiance, the Flames are waiting to see what happens next with their schedule. The college players still in school will not have the spring count against their scholarship limits when NCAA soccer returns.

“It’s been a lot for them, because the quarantine keeps getting extended. I know there are some guys from different states, different countries on our team that can’t go back home. I know they’re happy that they’re almost done with school, but everything is up in the air. They’ll get through it.”

He’s confident in the mentality of his old squad displaying a defiant spirit. His message for Tacoma is similar.

“Everyone stay safe. I know it’s a hard time right now, but the first thing for everyone is our health. We don’t want you to be sick. We want everyone to be – and to stay – safe”



TV Show: Money Heist

Video Games: FIFA

Music: Bad Bunny

Activity: Yoga

Food: Steak and Fettucine Alfredo

Read about what the players, coaches, and staff at Cheney Stadium are doing while they Stay Home, Stay Healthy.

Defiantly Tacoma


Tacoma Defiance is the USL Championship affiliate of reigning MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC. You can follow The Future of Champions on Twitter (@TACDefiance)Facebook, and Instagram (@tacdefiance). We are #DefiantlyTacoma.


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More information on social distancing and how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be found at Tacoma-Pierce County Health. The most up-to-date information on how COVID-19 is affecting events at Cheney Stadium can be found here.