By Kim DeRaedt
Luis Licerio was searching for something reliable in life. He found God. Regals FC was searching for someone reliable to anchor its midfield. The team found Luis Licerio. It was a match made in heaven.
When Regals FC began its quest to clinch the Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) championship, the team put ample responsibility on the collegiate All-American’s shoulders. Licerio passed all of his concerns and commissions to the man whom can carry the weight of the entire world on his shoulders.
It worked. With the weight lifted, Licerio was free to blaze a trail for an indomitable Regals FC squad. He wasted no time in etching his name into the record books as the team’s first goalscorer in SPSL action. Licerio tallied twice to lead Regals FC to a 7-0 victory over the Texas Lonestrikers in the clubs’ season-opener.
Licerio shrugged it off; he’s used to making history. Licerio, a graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas, is listed fourth in the NAIA record books for most assists in a game with his five-assist performance against Availa University (Mo.). He extended his legacy at MidAmerica Nazarene by guiding the team to two NCCAA national championships (2004, 2006) while being named the Offensive MVP (2004) and Tournament MVP (2006). He nabbed all-conference accolades each of his four years and was dubbed NAIA Player of the Week on October 12, 2004.
One might think this would make it difficult for Licerio to choose his favorite accolade; however, his proudest moment can be found in none of the above.
What really matters to Licerio, though, is his family. He will forever appreciate his hard-working parents whom supported him in whatever means they could afford. It goes with saying that Licerio’s fondest memory was receiving a full-ride scholarship to pursue an education that no one in his family had ever attained.
“Receiving that scholarship was life changing,” Licerio said. “It was the opportunity and the blessing of a life time. It meant a lot to my parents and me because no one before me had even graduated from high school. To get to go to college was something big.”
The full-ride scholarship was only the culmination of Licerio’s laudable youth soccer career. Born in Torreon Coahuila, Mexico, Licerio moved to Houston in 1994 at the age of 8. He wasted little time in joining Houstonians FC the following year. Licerio described the decision as “the best decision I ever made next to giving my life to God.”
Houstonians FC is unique in that its mission extends well beyond the playing field. As the first inner-city program fully funded by the City of Houston, the club provides soccer and life opportunities regardless of economic barriers. The organization seeks to develop the complete individual and requires that its athletes participate in community service and tutoring programs to fulfill its broader focus and goals directed toward leadership and continuing education.
In his eight years with the club, Licerio credits Houstonians FC for making him the person he is today.
“Houstonians was the foundation to my success,” Licerio said. “Without it, I would not have achieved what I did. Houstonians was my anti-drug.”
The experience ignited a devotion to Christ and passion for soccer. Licerio progressed with both delights following his collegiate days. Upon graduation, he signed with the Cleveland City Stars of the USL Second Division and contributed to the team’s third-place finish during the regular season.
He then packed his bags and returned to the South to serve a brief stint with SPSL-foe Galveston Pirate SC before ultimately finding his home at Regals FC. Although he is now married and settled, Licerio isn’t about to be complacent with his soccer aspirations. He wants nothing more than for his efforts and achievements with Regals FC to mirror the rest of his impressive playing career.
“Individually, my goals are to stay consistent throughout the season and to make my maximum effort count,” Licerio said. “As far as the team, I expect us to be champions of the league.”
These are lofty expectations from a modest midfielder. Licerio is quick to deny any credit for his achievements.
“God is the reason I have been so successful, and I believe that it is my faith that keeps blessings coming,” Licerio said. “I have been truly blessed.”
Still, off the field and behind the glory, Licerio is just a typical guy. He lists his hobbies as “fishing, fishing and fishing” and says that he can’t live without his PlayStation 3 either.
Yet, there seems to be that special something about Licerio that is a testimony to his character. Licerio is thankful for his blessed life and wraps his future aspirations around providing an even better life for his children someday.
“In the future, I’d like to own a house and have a family with my wife,” Licerio said. “I want to be able to give our children a better life than we had. I want their lives to be special.”
Luckily, “special” is what Licerio knows best.