On the roof of a shopping center overlooking the city of Lima, Peru — with just the clicking sound of the TOCA Touch Trainer delivering soccer balls up to 50 miles per hour — young, aspiring soccer players control soccer balls and smash volleys with conviction and excitement. Not only do they feel comfortable as they enjoy playing the game but also, they quickly notice their skills improved.
TOCA Peru, located in Lima in the district of Surco, officially opened to the public in June to welcome players to its revolutionary soccer training. TOCA Peru is the brainchild of Diego Aranibar and his partner Erick Monge. However, it was Diego’s older brother, Gustavo, who introduced TOCA and helped to bring this vision of modern development training to Peru.
Gustavo and his son, Tiago, moved to Los Angeles, California in 2017. Tiago, who played soccer in Peru, searched for a team to join in Southern California. Gustavo and Tiago found TOCA Costa Mesa and instantly were inspired by the fast-paced development training through quality repetition using a smaller soccer ball.
A year later, Peru became the first country in South America to introduce TOCA. By opening a TOCA location in Peru, Aranibar hopes to improve the way a Peruvian soccer player trains.
In Peru, there is neither a place nor technology dedicated to improving the technique in soccer
Aranibar said. “Peruvian players are very talented, but they do not have the right technique to excel in high competitions. That is what we want to improve: Enhance their skills and advance them to a higher level.”
The outdoor space Aranibar has created in Lima includes two small soccer fields with one of the fields divided into four TOCA Studios surrounded by TOCA banners. The space is devoid of noise except for the clicking sounds of the TOCA Touch Trainers, as Aranibar said, “The only sound is the sound of the machines delivering the TOCA Balls to the players, which is like music to us.”
Despite 11 million people residing in Lima, Aranibar values the serene yet fast-paced environment on the roof providing the players a more personalized form of training. Peru’s trainers, similar to those at all TOCA locations, work with a maximum of four people per machine, giving each trainer the ability to focus on each player’s technique and improve weaknesses that may not be recognized in large groups.
We want the player who comes to train with us to understand that ball control and the first pass are the first in soccer. After mastering those two concepts everything else becomes easier.
Since the opening, the TOCA technique has been widely accepted for utilizing user-centered technology to bring an edge to soccer and the development of its players.
“We want to change the way of training and developing the Peruvian soccer player,” Aranibar said. “We want the athletes to play a touch and control the ball as if it were an extension of their foot.”
TOCA Peru offers a safe and supportive space for everyone. Currently, more athletes between the ages of 8 and 13 years old train at this location to improve their techniques. According to Aranibar, this is the best age group to learn the basics of soccer.
Aranibar realizes TOCA Peru likely won’t immediately produce 20 Teófilo Cubillas (who is one of only three players to score five or more goals in two different World Cups) or 20 Paolo Guerreros (the all-time leading goal scorer for Peru and current team captain). However, in time, with every TOCA Ball delivered, an opportunity is created to produce strong soccer players.
In the future, as TOCA’s brand develops in Peru, Aranibar is looking to expand beyond Lima to reach other larger cities in the country such as Arequipa, Trujillo and Callao.
In Peru, a strong soccer culture is already engrained in its people. Now, fueled by the desire to raise the level of Peru’s game, TOCA Peru is invested in building the nation’s next generation of talented and skilled soccer players.