The Stars’ Nick Perera, left, looks to advance the ball against the Express’ Matthew Germain during MASL play Dec. 1. Perera is now taking on the role as head coach for the club. COURTESY PHOTO, Stars

The Stars’ Nick Perera, left, looks to advance the ball against the Express’ Matthew Germain during MASL play Dec. 1. Perera is now taking on the role as head coach for the club. COURTESY PHOTO, Stars

Perera era starts Friday for the Stars; player takes head coaching role | MASL

  • Friday, December 21, 2018 12:05pm
  • Sports

The Tacoma Stars have named Nick Perera as its new head coach, effective Friday.

The coaching change comes after Darren Sawatzky accepted the head coaching position with FC Tucson of the USL League One. Perera becomes the second head coach in Stars modern history with the Major Arena Soccer League.

Perera leads the Stars (2-1) in scoring with 10 points (four goals, six assists) after the first three games of the season. Perera also led Tacoma scorers in 2017-18, and in 96 career MASL games has tallied 186 points (97 goals, 89 assists). Perera joined the Stars last season after three appearances with the Syracuse Silver Knights.

“It’s an honor,” Perera said. “This group of men is special, and the culture Darren has cultivated over the last few years really is unique. I’m grateful to the organization for placing their trust in me, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Sawatzky added: “I cannot think of a better person or leader to take the reins with the Tacoma Stars. Nick has a vast knowledge of small-sided soccer at many levels, and his influence as the head coach will only foster a better team and environment here. I wish him the very best in his new role, and I will be watching this project as these guys hunt for wins this season.”

Perera will get started in a venue familiar to him and his Tacoma squad. The Stars play Saturday at Pachenga Arena San Diego, the home of the San Diego Sockers. Perera and the Stars were eliminated from last year’s MASL playoffs in that building.

Perera has been coaching college and elite level soccer or higher since 2005.

“Nick has a tremendous soccer pedigree and knowledge,” said Stars owner Lane Smith. “His indoor soccer experience along with his leadership qualities, prior coaching history and chemistry with players make him a natural choice to lead the Tacoma Stars.”

Perera’s indoor soccer experience began in 2011 as a member of the Sockers. That year also saw Perera with the U.S. Futsal National Team and a PASL and Open Cup championship.

The Stars are on the road until Jan. 11 when the Monterrey Flash come to the accesso ShoWare Center.

After Saturday night’s match against San Diego, the Stars will take on the Fury in Ontatio, Calif., on Sunday. Saturday’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with an earlier 5 p.m. kickoff on Sunday.

For tickets, call 1-844-782-7784. or go to

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