Field Hockey Canada > Veteran Pereira extends field hockey career on and off the pitch

Standing on the sidelines is not something Ken Pereira is all too familiar with. Whenever he is around a field hockey pitch, he’s typically at the center of the action.

But this past summer in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Ken was watching from a far as manager and coach of the Ontario Under-16 boys team that captured the National Championship for its age group. 

And while he wasn’t playing, it should come has no surprise that coaching the sport to which he has dedicated his life – and winning – was a lot of fun. 

“For me it’s different being on the outside of the white lines as opposed to being inside,” says the veteran of Canada’s field hockey program.

“It’s a great experience coaching these young guys and hopefully some of them will go on to play for Canada.”

With his tutelage, it wouldn’t be a surprise if many of them did.

Pereira is the all-time leader in games played for the Canadian Senior Men’s National outdoor team with 348 caps to his name. The closest active players are David Jameson (195) and Scott Tupper (183).

Before he amassed all those international fixtures, competed in an Olympic Games, World Cups, and Commonwealth Games, Pereira was once a young field hockey player trying to find his way – much like the young men he now coaches.

“I think when you come through the ranks as a younger player you don’t really know the level of the other teams and other player that you have to get to,” he says.

“I had older guys that pulled me through and told me what to do, and gave me advice,” he remembers. “It’s the same thing for them. It’s just hard work, training, practicing at all times. Every day just doing something that’s going to make you better.”

It’s likely that type of attitude that has allowed Pereira to have such a long and successful career: one that continues into his forty-second year and now has the title “coach” on the lengthy list of accomplishments. 

“This is just my rookie season as a coach,” he says. “To compare it to my hockey career which is over twenty years, it’s quite different.”

“I don’t know if I’ll go on to do more elite type coaching but for now I’m kind of happy doing this. It’s fun having these guys around.”

But it’s also fun to play. And despite his new interest in coaching, and his age, Pereira still loves being on the pitch.

“I just turned 41 but I feel 21 when I play.”

Pereira was part of the Canadian Men’s Indoor National team that won gold at the 2014 Indoor Pan Am Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay this past March. As a result of the win, he and the team are headed to the 2015 Indoor World Cup in Leipzig, Germany in February of 2015.

“It’s going to be 6-8 months of hard training,” he says of the World Cup preparation, which has just begun in Toronto, Ontario. “It (field hockey) has been my life and as long as I can extend my career and not get a real 9-to-5 job I’m going to keep doing it.”

And whether it’s playing or coaching, Pereira always has one goal in mind when it comes to field hockey.

“Playing that long, I think I’ll always have that competitive edge and I’m always going to want to win and do our best to help these kids come through.”