By: Christian Benites
Do you have a home field where you practice or play regularly?
Memorial Park in Cinnaminson, NJ.
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
We learned that Peru was not represented in previous years. We wanted to participate so that Peru could have a presence in the local soccer community.
How did your team come together?
After learning of the tournament and lack of Peruvian representation, I reached out to other Peruvians I knew through work, the community, and friendships over the years, and asked them to spread the word. Slowly, interested players started reaching out to me, and I was able to coordinate practices with the group.
Can you tell us a bit about the rest of your team?
Our team is mostly made up of Peruvians who have emigrated to the United States during their lifetime. Some currently reside in PA and others in NJ. Everyone is very hardworking and looking to make their mark in the coming tournament.
What does soccer mean to your community?
Soccer is very important to us as Peruvians because it has been an activity that we have all been able to engage in, regardless of social or financial status, both back in Peru and here in the United States. It gives us something to socialize over as we grow older and also lets us connect with younger generations as we pass down knowledge to our kids and others in the community.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
As touched on in the previous response, it promotes inclusivity because it’s a sport for people from all backgrounds and lifestyles. Those young and old both bond over the sport, and the Unity Cup itself is an excellent way to bring together everyone and bond over a game played all around the world, finding common ground among their diversity.
What places in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about the culture of the country your team represents?
El Balconcito I (658 E Godfrey Ave.) & II (7326 Castor Ave.) are fine Peruvian restaurants.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your team’s country?
As I’m sure most people do, I wish the food and wide array of Peruvian dishes were more commonly known. There is something in Peruvian cuisine for everyone.