Angie Malaver: Peru’s Star Goal Keeper

by Mariana Mercado

As a young girl growing up in Peru, Angie Malaver quickly developed her love for football. Peru also taught Angie how hard it can be for women to have equal access to the beautiful game. Football is the national sport in Peru, but it’s a man’s game. “It’s hard for women in many countries to play football,” says Angie. “Not because they can’t play, but because they are not allowed or people judge them. Unfortunately that’s the case for many girls in Peru.”

Angie not only made it into the men’s/mixed team that is representing Peru in this year’s Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam, she has become one of tournament’s best goal keepers. “When I get on to the pitch,” she says while she mops the sweat off her brow with her jersey, “I don’t think about whether or not the ball is going to hurt me, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.” She pulls her trousers above her knee, “See? I’m covered in bruises!” she laughs. “I’m not afraid though, all the guys are always looking after me, I never had this much attention!”

Angie was selected to represent Peru as part of an inclusion programme run by Hecho Club Social Peru. Before that, she was part of a programme that worked with members of the LGBT community. “I play football with women who are discriminated against for being gay,” she says. “Sexual orientation shouldn’t prevent you from being included in our society.

“I think part of my role now will be to bridge the team from the LGTB programme with the programme run by Hecho Club Social Peru. And I’m very happy with that because I want to help people, and if I can do it with football, that’s my life sorted.”

“People often think that I’m gay because I support gay rights, I just want to shout at them ‘You don’t have to be gay to believe in equality!'” says Angie, with agitation.”Gay rights are human rights, you know?”

This is the first time Angie has travelled to Europe, though she promises it won’t be the last. “The Netherlands is such a wonderful place,” she continues with barely contained glee in her voice. “Sometimes when people hear the world homeless, they think you don’t deserve the good things. Not here. Here we have been living like kings!”

“The work that everyone here is doing is commendable. So many of the players here were without hope, but here they have it, and they can always look back to this moment. I am determined to take this moment with me for the rest of my life.”

Angie is loving every minute of her experience in Amsterdam “I don’t want it to end,” she says. “But I’m also excited to return to Lima and maybe passing on my experiences to other young men and women.”

Photo Credits: Romain Kedochim