With a presence that has contributed to the Chicago Bliss capturing two consecutive league championships, Kim Perez has established herself as a key member of its roster. In each season that she has played with the Bliss, they managed to successfully navigate their way to the pinnacle of their sport.
On a Bliss team that features elite quarterback (and franchise player) Heather Furr, along with the very powerful running back, Chris’Dell Harris, who bulldozes through opposing defenses almost effortlessly, it would be easy to overlook Perez. Compounding this is the fact that the club also features several younger players, including Conference All-Stars Alli Alberts and Hallie Jiskra, both possessing girl next door looks.
Quite possibly the most underrated superstar not just on the Bliss, but in the entire league of play, Perez quietly goes on, with an ethereal serenity and a calm demeanor that erupts into punishing play on the field, always giving her team a chance to win. Statistically, Perez has emerged as one of the league’s leaders in tackles for the last two seasons. With results that speak for themselves, Perez is truly an essential (and perhaps invaluable) component on a top-ranked Chicago defense.
Also a talented softball player, Perez is one of many two-sport stars that currently grace the gridiron. Having manned centerfield for the University of the Cumberlands Patriots in Williamsburg, Kentucky, she graduated with program records for hits and stolen bases. During the 2006 campaign, she was recognized as an honorable mention for the 2006 and 2007 Mid-South All-Conference Team. Her senior season (2007) may have been her finest. Perez led the Patriots with 49 hits and 20 stolen bases, displaying a great combination of speed and skill at the plate. This was complemented by registering 56 total bases.
While at Cumberlands, she also delved into flag football, a sport that continues to grow in popularity with young women throughout college campuses in North America. Representing the university at numerous tournaments, she would prove to be a key factor in their success. In one tournament, she would score a touchdown against the Pink Ladies from the University of Virginia at Wise in a 12-0 win. The second round game saw Perez receive two touchdown passes, contributing to a solid 36-12 win. By tournament’s end, Perez was named Tournament MVP while leading Cumberlands to a victory.
Such success would form the beginning of a solid football career. From 11-on-11 outdoor football to indoor glories with the Chicago Bliss, it was certainly no coincidence that the Bliss would capture two titles in her first two years there.
Bringing strong versatility to the gridiron, Perez can excel at both the linebacker and defensive back positions. While Perez has mentioned online that she is more comfortable at linebacker, her ability to compete at either position allows the coaching staff the luxury of adding creativity to their defensive attack.
Of note, Alberts and Furr are the only players on the Bliss that compete on both sides of the football. Taking into account Furr’s value as quarterback (at which she is the league’s finest), injury can be avoided by having her play exclusively at the position against certain opponents. Such a move may prove crucial in the club’s ambitions towards a third consecutive championship.
Knowing that Perez can adequately fill in at the defensive back position (where Furr is just as talented) certainly adds to her possible perception by fans that she is the team’s good luck charm. Although she is a naturally born athlete, one could argue that she was destined to wear the Bliss colors.
Working in Champaign, Illinois, a chance encounter resulted in Harris walking into Perez’s place of work. Quickly, a conversation about sport developed with Perez discussing her initial sojourn into football, especially her experiences in a full contact 11-on-11 league. An intrigued Harris would invite Perez to a tryout, setting the stage for a key piece in assembling the Bliss’ championship puzzle.
Articulate and college-educated, the gridiron glories have not only extended the athletic endeavors of Perez, but it has served to introduce her to an entire new fan base. A great competitor and an ambassador for the game, the Bliss have a gem in Perez, whose efforts certainly make the dream of three championships in a row very real.