It's not exactly South Beach, but Seyla Perez takes it just the same.
Through Nov. 23 in Boca Raton, Fla., the Howland junior soccer player has her talents on display at the U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Olympic Development Program.
The program takes 18 players each from four regions around the United States for one of America's most prestigious camps. Perez was selected from a pool of 36 players out of a regional in Illinois.
Tribune Chronicle file photo / Dave Dermer
Howland’s Seyla Perez looks upfield for the Tigers. The 16-year-old junior, who has committed to play for Pittsburgh after Howland, is attending the U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Olympic Development Program in Boca Raton, Fla.
"I hope to learn and maybe they'll teach me to become better at what I do," Perez, 16, said. "I want to have a fun experience with all these players and everything."
In addition to playing for Howland High School, she plays for a host of club and traveling teams that helped make Perez eligible to go to Florida.
Perez, a 5-foot-9 junior, was part of the top 36 in the regional last year, but didn't get to go to Florida.
One of her friends texted her the news that she was heading down south.
"I was happy," Perez said.
Howland girls coach Joe Megyesi said he's happy Perez is going to this camp.
"That team she's going with, the club, with the development, is very highly regarded by all colleges and coaches," Megyesi said. "That gives her the advantage over a lot of individuals. You also have to have the talent to move on because what you have there is a lot of club teams, very competitive club teams."
Perez, for this camp, will be a center and defender. At Howland, she is a center and midfielder.
What will not change is her commitment to the University of Pittsburgh, where Perez will attend after graduating Howland.
"I don't think anything will change," she said.
That said, she added her dedication is her strong part of her overall game, but needs to improve in another area - confidence.
"Sometimes I get scared or too nervous when I shouldn't be," Perez said.
However, Megyesi said Perez's skills are quite good.
"She knows how to read the field," he said. "She sees where the ball is and how people move around with the passes and stuff. When she receives the ball, by reading the field, she knows what her next move is, where to pass it to, who to pass it to, whether to keep the ball.
"She has a real good understanding of the game. When she receives it or passes it, she does it where it enhances our attack or defense. In another words, it's not one of those individual that I get the ball and I just kick and whoever gets it, I just luck out."
Perez looks up to players who didn't leave their games up to luck. She followed Mia Hamm growing up, but now in a fan of Alex Morgan.
"She has the determination to be the best," Perez said. "She is getting there. She's been doing really well in the Olympics and everything."
As for Perez, she wants to represent the United States in the Olympics. Her first step is this camp in Florida.
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't have that (dream)," Perez said.