Paredes letting “work make the noise”

by Alex Beilman, contributor


It’s late at night in a small village located in the colonial city of Puebla, Mexico. An athletic young man is running down the road. He’s done it plenty of times in training. As a left back, he does a lot of running in practice and in games. This, however, is not his typical practice drill.

“My dad warned me,” says FC Buffalo defender Brian Paredes, a nervous grin cracking his expression as he recalls the moment.

He’s gotten used to his coaches barking orders, but this was not the barking he’d come to know on the training ground. He’s being pursued by one the village’s many feral dogs on the way home. He’s ultimately able to shake this adversary with a rush of adrenaline and a foot usually used for kicking soccer balls..

“He ended up running away from me.”

ParedesParedes, an LIU Brooklyn player, is one of the many new faces on FC Buffalo’s roster this season. Making his debut for the Blitzers this season, while exciting, may rank pretty low on the list of life-altering experiences the fullback’s had in the last year.

His father, Raul Paredes, moved from Puebla to New York City in 1988. His mother, Antonia Ruiz, followed shortly thereafter with his older brother in 1990. Brian was born in Queens, New York, in 1996. Being the only native-born American citizen in the family, Raul was always apprehensive about allowing Brian to visit his family, including an older sister, back in Puebla.

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“My dad was always like, ‘No, it’s dangerous.’ He warned me not to walk out at night.” recalls Paredes.

“In December I said, ‘I want to visit my family. I want to know what your roots are.’ So I went to Mexico and I went to go meet my sister and my mom’s mom. It was a great experience.”

His parents come from varied backgrounds. His father started working at the age of 12 in his small village. His mother’s parents ran a restaurant and had more affluence than his father’s side of the family. Even seeing two different parts of his families native country was a culture shock.

“My dad is from the countryside, there’s not much to do. There’s no running water. I had to take showers with buckets,” Paredes said of his time in Puebla. “My mom’s city, she grew up with a little bit more money. She had running water. Overall, it was great.”

The time he spent meeting family and learning more about his family history helped the young defender put life into perspective at a critical time. It has allowed him to continue to understand and apply the lessons his father instilled in him early.

“It’s completely different from what I have in New York City,” Paredes said. “People are so humble. I learned that you need to appreciate the little things in life. My dad told me that hard work always pays off. That’s how I try to live and train: hard work. Work in the silence and let your work make the noise.”


It has also helped him be more accepting of his teammates. With soccer being a popular game internationally, it is not uncommon to have teammates from every corner of the globe. Paredes’ experiences have given him a yearning to learn about as many cultures as possible.

“You have to be open-minded to new people and a new style of living,” Paredes said. “You have to be open to your teammates. You have guys from Scotland, from Sweden, from Jamaica. I love sharing ideas, sharing things, sharing foods with them. You have to have great chemistry on and off the field so I think it’s very important to be open-minded to new ideas.”

His willingness to embrace his teammates has made him stand out as a leader on and off the pitch. The coaching staff has certainly noticed, naming him captain for last Saturday’s match in Cleveland.

”Coaches really want players to be intrinsically motivated,” said assistant coach Bob Roach. “You need character when times get tough. He’s come in, not in a leadership role that we’ve given him, he’s taken it. He’s earned it. We look to him to be a big part. A kid like Brian, you wish you had 10, 15, 18 of them because he’s got that character.”

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Now that he’s achieved his goal of visiting his family, he’s ready to focus on the improving the Blitzers’ position in the league table and help the team achieve their goals.

“I miss home, but I love playing football. That’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to win games and I’m here to help FC Buffalo into the playoffs,” Paredes said. “My parents are behind me 100%. They tell me to work hard, have faith and be humble in what you do and that helps me out a lot.”

The Wolves face rivals Erie at 7 p.m. Friday at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium. The club is raising money for Summit Center and the Pepper family during the contest.