BRICK BY BRICK
THE surname Peralto has been synonymous with Jamaican politics for a very long time.
Even though the most recognisable bearer of the name passed away after an illustrious career in politics and government, a fresh face keeps the Peralto name in the limelight.
This time the spotlight is on footballer Dante Peralto, the grandson of Ryan Peralto, a former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member who spent 30 years in the political arena and was a Member of Parliament, senator and mayor of Kingston.
The 17-year-old Dante, who plays centre back or left back for ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup champions Mona, was instrumental in the school’s unprecedented success on the football field this season.
Mona, who were beaten 4-0 by daCosta Cup champions Clarendon College in the all-island Olivier Shield, lifted their first Manning Cup trophy after beating Hydel High 1-0, another school with a fairytale season.
Dante, who is aligned to the Craig Butler-led Phoenix Academy, is the vice-captain of the Mona team and, like all members of the triumphant school, is still revelling in football glory.
“It feels really amazing to win the Manning Cup as it’s a prestigious high school football trophy in Jamaica,” he said.
He continued: “To me, it means a lot just to be allowed to be a part of a special group of winners as well as to make a statement that anything is possible with a lot of hard work and dedication.”
Dante is also scoring on the field of academics, having so far garnered six CSEC subjects in English language, English literature, mathematics, social studies, food nutrition, and health and physical education.
“I always try to complete my schoolwork as I get it, just so it’s easier for me to focus on my football and the training that I may have for the day,” he shared with the Jamaica Observer.
Not only politics but football blood also appears to flow in the Peralto line as Dante’s sister Krysta played high school football in Canada, along with his dad Dane, but not at the professional level. But Dante hopes to go one better.
“I hope to go off to play football overseas in Europe professionally after this season is finished,” he shared.
Dante is already acclimating himself to the professional climate as he has been on trials at several clubs overseas. They include Bonner SC in Germany 2020-2021, FC Nürnberg Under-17s, Canada’s Toronto FC Under-17s, and Spain’s Real Sociedad Under-17 in 2022.
In 2023 he was on the road again at Belgium’s KRC Genk Under-18, Standard Liege’s B team, and URSL Visé’s frst team.
Dante draws inspiration from two of the modern game’s most recognisable names.
“I look up to Alphonso Davies and Sergio Ramos as footballers due to their work ethic and professionalism. [I admire] Alphonso Davies’ playing style because of his overlapping runs and crosses, and Sergio Ramos’s leadership and defending from the back and his transition to attack,” he expounded.
Dante has advice for young student-athletes like himelf.
“Listening to your parents is definite, and always find time to do your schoolwork. Take it seriously when you’re training, especially when you would like to make it your profession. Hard work always beats talent. When talent doesn’t work, work hard enough,” he concluded.