Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Young Brazilian soccer fan spotted in a DIY jersey will soon meet his World Cup hero

Wallace de Oliveria Rocha and his bright yellow jersey happened to catch photographer Bruno Itan's eye while at a free World Cup viewing party in Brazil.

A post shared by Bruno Itan (@brunoitan) on Jun 25, 2018 at 10:25am PDT

The 12-year-old was watching the Brazil v. Costa Rica game while wearing a homemade jersey emblazoned with the name of his favorite player: Philippe Coutinho, #11. "What caught my attention about Wallace was his creativity," Itan told NBC News. Itan waited for Coutinho to appear on the screen, then snapped a quick photo of Rocha with his favorite player in the background. He posted the photo to his Instagram account, and almost immediately, people began commenting and sharing the picture, trying to get Coutinho's attention.

Itan went back to the favela where Rocha lives with his family, and learned that Rocha wanted a Brazilian national team jersey to wear during the World Cup, but at $66, his family just couldn't afford it. A local seamstress made a jersey for him, charging $2.75, which was still a stretch for the family. They don't have wifi, but a neighbor lets the young soccer fan use his so Rocha can watch Coutinho play.

The effort to get Coutinho to see Rocha's jersey paid off — not only has he arranged to meet his fan when he's back in Brazil, but he also recorded a message and sent an official autographed jersey to his home. Rocha, who loves soccer and dreams of becoming a professional so he can buy his mom a house, told Brazil's OGlobo he is excited to wear his new jersey, but is waiting until after the World Cup, because he's pretty sure the top he wears now is good luck.