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Keller Costa, the Peruvian who encouraged Japan to reach the Soccer World Cup 7

Today he is the new coach of the selection of football 7 of Japan, a team that he himself was in charge of promoting before the Japanese leaders. His love for soccer and his passion -as a good Peruvian- made him not give up on his goal. And this year he will compete in a world championship.

He is moved when he sees the cover of DT of El Comercio, the newspaper that he used to watch at home as a child and that now highlights his story. And he is even more excited to share the space with Kimberly Garcia, our champion and world record walker. And it is that Keller is that national feeling that is always present even when she is on the other side of the world.

The beginning

He made minor divisions in academic, cantolao and Glassbut his life path was in what he calls ‘Mission’ for his Evangelical Church and that led him to Japanwhere he continued to believe in the ball and encouraged the Japanese, the country that invented the beloved Super Champions cartoon (Yōichi Takahashi, 1981) to prepare a selection of football 7.

“They called me the ‘Tank’”, remember. The nickname was because she had a good kick despite his young age. A free kick or a long-distance shot was a set goal for him. But soccer was the hobby that he shared with his religion, his path had another destination, although always with a ball at his feet. “My brother came to play in the Boys and Cristal youth teams. They offered him to go to the national team, but he said no because we had a missionary call ”he tells us.

And that call made them leave for the United States in 2000 and in 2003 for Japan to grow your missionary movement. Although Keller He returned to Brazil to study advertising and it was not until 2010 that he settled in Japan to direct his projects.

I create the Gold Eagles school, but the 2011 tsunami paralyzed everything. He did not give up and with Shalom Sport Center he aimed at the project of football 7 in 2019 in the Ibaraki region. They started in third and now they are in the highest division.

He football 7 It is a discipline with many followers in Japan, although the sport is still not professional. That is why Keller was struck by the fact that there is no national representative. And he decided to take the reins to make it so.

“In 2007 they tried to make a selection, they went to play with clubs in Brazil and they lost. They got discouraged”says Keller. Four years ago, the Peruvian began his journey in the football 7 at the Shalom Sport Center club and achieved promotion from the third to the first division, but that was not his only achievement: little by little he was encouraging the leaders of the JF7 (Japan Soccer League 7) to reactivate the idea of ​​having a National team.

“You have led us here, you know where you are taking us”, the sports authorities told him and a few months ago he was appointed coach of the national team. Thanks to the contacts he already had, he managed to get the FIF7 I invited him to Soccer World Cup 7 which will be held in September in Puebla, Mexico.

Before, in April it will be measured in a friendly tournament with teams like the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and others to measure its level. He wants to arrive well prepared for the world event, although he knows that they will make themselves known. His bet is to raise his level so that Japan little by little fights the biggest.


He also grew up watching Oliver Atom and knowingly knows what this cartoon, so real for many, permeated the Japanese feeling and how it is seen now. super champions It was important because they showed passion, the passionate effort of the players.”tells us about how that anime is perceived in Japan.

Soccer grew up in Japan in recent years. Keller As a teenager, he went to the parks to play and was the only one with a ball, while the other boys practiced baseball. “Now it is normal to go with balls, you go to the park and you have more balls”, he tells us.

But to the passion that they learned with the Super Champions, the Japanese now add intelligence, planning. “There is a new anime called Blue Lock, which is about the new promises of soccer. But if you see it, it’s something more strategic, a group of boys who are tested in a lot of tests in an academy and the best pass”, the Peruvian tells us.

It is so, the Japanese are very methodical in what they do so that the result is the best. “Now the Japanese mixes passion with the strategic. I am afraid that they could become mechanized, because the sport needs to be flexible”, Keller reflects on how football is experienced in the country of the Rising Sun.

Versus Peru?

He football 7 is not yet seen as a professional in Japanbut they decided to bet on Keller and his work thanks to what he showed with his team in the field. He also had other skills, however: an active man in social networks, it was there that he came to contact the president of FIF7. Only then would the Japanese believe in his project, with something concrete.

We have already seen what the Japanese have done with soccer –in the World Cup they beat Germany and Spain–, and now it will be their turn to see them in a smaller game, which suits them well. “They like to work with rotations, movements. In football 11 you see speed, here also in reactions, but they work a lot on strategy, ”he explains.

They have youtubers, physical trainers and even a doctor in their 12-player squad, but most importantly, they have the Japanese discipline and commitment to make this sport grow. And also to fulfill another dream. “It would be wonderful to take my team to Peru. It would be a privilege”says about if that possibility were to be given.

Born in Peru in 1985 to Brazilian parents, he grew up in the port of Chalaco and the streets of San Miguel. He took his Peruvian identity with him in his suitcase, despite growing up in the United States and making his life in Japan. He is a successful Peruvian and this country recognizes it.

Source: Elcomercio

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