Both long-time Concacaf veterans took part in Monday’s Champions League draw after retiring in the last few months

The 2019 Concacaf Champions League draw Monday featured two recently retired players trying their hands at something other than soccer.

Blas Perez, a Panama forward who played with FC Dallas, Arabe Unido and Tigres among other clubs during his career, announced his retirement in late November. Moises Munoz, a Mexico goalkeeper who spent his entire career in Liga MX, most notably with Club America and Monarcas, said in August he’s hanging up the gloves.

The pair picked the balls out of the pots for next year’s club championship with each still deciding what comes next after decorated careers. The bilingual Munoz already has been involved as a pundit with Fox Sports during the 2018 World Cup and may pop up on more TV screens, while Perez could try his hand at coaching or working in youth development.

“It’s been a little bit tough. Retirement is difficult at first, but it’s just about adapting. It was time to say, ‘Enough.’ After playing the World Cup, I’d said I’d step aside,” Perez said Monday. “I’m definitely still going to be in the world of football.

“I can’t disappear. I’m hoping to help those who are coming through move forward if I can. I’m here (at the draw), and everyone knows me. I can’t go away, like I said.”

Munoz has had more time to mull over his life after his playing career came to a close and has stayed active since the summer. After playing in a testimonial, Munoz has taken in events ranging from an F-1 race to comedic theater works.

He, too, was happy to be around many of his former colleagues Monday night and take part in an event 

“I’m really glad to be here. It’s different because I’m not going to be the one playing this time, but taking part in this event my hands are going to be choosing the teams facing each other in the next Concacaf Champions League,” the 38-year-old said before the draw. “I’m happy to be here and anxious to see what the matches are going to be.”

The decision to have the two recent retirees also can be seen as a proactive step from a confederation that often has failed to involve its greats like other confederations. In UEFA and CONMEBOL, former players frequently take part in big events or work on various initiatives. That has been the case in Concacaf as well, but a number of the region’s top players have faded from public sight after their careers.

This year’s CCL begins Feb. 19 with the first legs of round of 16 matches and will finish with a two-legged final, the deciding match of which will fall between April 30-May 2.

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