The 1970s were a golden age for soccer in Peru, one that producer Janice Llamoca only heard about when she was growing up in Los Angeles in the ’90s. The team’s glory days were remembered fondly by her father and the rest of her family. The Peruvian national soccer squad went to three World Cups in that era. But after that, the team did poorly for decades—failing to qualify for the World Cup year after year. At the same time, the country experienced economic and political crises. For most people in the country, the message was: Peru just isn’t good enough.
But then, in 2017, for the first time in decades, Peru actually had a chance to join the greatest soccer stage in the world. With the help of coach Ricardo Gareca and Peru’s star player Paolo Guerrero, the Peruvian players earned the final spot to compete in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
For Llamoca, who was raised a loyal fan of the Peruvian national team, the opportunity had suddenly come up to fulfill a lifelong dream. Peru was finally back in the tournament. And so, on a whim, she bought tickets to Russia for her and her dad, Pepe. And then they were off on the ultimate father-daughter soccer adventure.
A transcript of the episode is available here:
This story originally aired in July of 2018.
Featured image courtesy of Janice Llamoca.