Atiba Harris Helps The Perez Family Return Where They Belong

Gina Miller is the host of FC Dallas Extra Time, airing directly before 18 matches on TXA 21 during the 2016 season. Catch the next episode on May 7 at 6 pm leading up to the FC Dallas-Toronto FC match!

FRISCO - Last April, Jenny Perez was having chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. In fact, on April 9th, 2015, she was having surgery to get a port put in place so she could start chemo. 

Fast forward one year to April 9, 2016. Jenny and her husband Tom along with daughters, Abigail and Mia, were watching FC Dallas’ game against San Jose. The place they belong. 

You see, the Perez family is a soccer-loving clan. Jenny is a physical education teacher in Dallas. She played soccer collegiately at University of Tulsa. Her daughters picked up the soccer bug, too, and play competitively. 

The Perez family had put a deposit on FC Dallas season tickets for 2015 but once Jenny, who told me she was in the best shape of her life at the time, got the diagnosis that changed everything, the family realized that commitment to FC Dallas would be too much physically and emotionally. 

“Realistically, it just wasn’t in the cards, not just financially but physically to put myself in those situations,” Jenny told me earlier this month.

“I felt terrible to say hey, sorry, this probably isn’t something we should do.”

When FC Dallas defender Atiba Harris heard the Perez family’s story, he was immediately moved. 

“They had to give up their season tickets to battle a real life issue,” the defender said, speaking like someone who gets it. 

“We’re out here as soccer players, we’re guilty of worrying about ‘Hey I’m not starting this week’ but these are people out there who might not be here to take another breath today,” Atiba adds. 

The 31-year old took it upon himself to buy the Perez family season tickets and presented them to Jenny and Tom in a surprise meeting in March. 

“This is our passion, our passion is soccer and to share that together is just a lot of fun,” Jenny said.  

What a difference, a good difference, a year makes.