Soccer is the #1 sport in Costa Rica!

Over 25% of the people play soccer.

With only 1% of the population of the United States, Costa Rica has almost the same number of professional soccer teams (12 versus 17)! We love to play it, watch it, and talk about it!

Your team can play top quality international matches and experience the passion that Costa Ricans have for soccer. Live the experience of cheering on a local professional team by attending a professional match in one of Costa Rica’s memorable soccer stadiums!

Costa Rica family soccer fans

Costa Rica’s National Soccer Teams

Costa Rica is a country on the rise internationally.

At the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Costa Rica Men’s National Team reached the quarterfinals, defeating Italy, Uruguay, Greece, and drawing against England along the way. They nearly made it to the semifinals but lost in penalty kicks to the Netherlands.

The Costa Rican Women’s National Team is competitive too! They made history in 2015, qualifying for their first ever Women’s World Cup, where they tied twice versus Spain and South Korea, before bowing out with a 0-1 loss to Brazil.

How have these National Teams become so skilled? It’s all about youth development. When you take a tour to Costa Rica, you’ll have a chance to compete directly against impressive teams which feature players who will go on to represent the country.

Costa Rica Men’s Soccer League

Twelve professional mens’ teams compete year-round in two seasons: a summer season that runs from February to June, and a winter season that runs from July to December.

  • Saprissa
  • Alajuela
  • Heredia
  • Cartago
  • Liberia
  • Perez Zeledon
  • Belen
  • Carmelita
  • Santos
  • Limon
  • San Carlos
  • UCR

The two most popular and successful league teams in Costa Rica are Deportivo Saprissa and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense. If you are looking to make friends with a Costa Rican, ask them if they are a fan of Saprissa or Alajuela and then agree with them; it’s the surest way to make a new friend!

Heredia fans

Costa Rica Women’s Soccer League

UNIFFUT, Union of Women’s Soccer in Costa Rica, oversees women’s soccer in Costa Rica. They coordinate leagues and tournaments for the first division, second division, youth leagues (U10, U13, U15, and U17) and the national youth Olympics.

Here are the First Division Women’s Teams:

  • D. Moravia
  • Saprissa FF
  • Dimas Escazú
  • Arenal Coronado
  • Ucem Alajuela
  • Liberia FF
  • Pococí
  • ADFF Cartago
  • CS Herediano
  • Pérez Zeledón

Costa Rica’s National Stadium

Costa Rica’s National Stadium boasts 35,000 seats and was inaugurated in 2011. Named the “Jewel of Costa Rica” by former president Oscar Arias, it was constructed at a cost of $100 million as a gift from the Chinese government. The construction was completed almost entirely by Chinese workers in a time span of approximately 2 years. Since the inauguration, the stadium has now hosted such high profile events as the Central American Olympic games concerts from Shakira, Lady Gaga, Iron Maiden, and Maroon 5, and, of course, all of the home soccer games of the Costa Rica’s National Teams.

Costa Rica Youth Soccer

Kids often begin playing soccer for their elementary school teams. The best high school teams qualify to play in the National Youth Olympic Games.

The best youth players often play for their high school team as well as a club team. Many professional teams manage youth development programs. The national U15, U17, and U20 teams are often selected from these programs.

As of the most recent FIFA Big Count in 2006, Costa Rica had over one million soccer players and 31,000 youth players (under 18). That amounts to 248 soccer clubs and nearly 1,400 teams – larger than some U.S. State Associations!

Youth Soccer

History

Soccer, or futbol in Spanish, is the most beloved national sport. This sport is so much a part of Costa Rican life that even the smallest of towns have a soccer field. Every weekend throughout Costa Rica, you can hear the loud exclamations, applause, and booing—all signs that a beloved soccer team has just scored a goal or let one get away.

In 1887 the country’s first team began playing in the city of San Jose; a regulation ball was even brought from England. By 1904, soccer had spread to Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago and other provinces. The Municipality of San Jose was the first to invest public finances to promote the sport’s growth including setting up public soccer fields.

The National Soccer League (Liga Nacional de Futbol) was established in Costa Rica on June 13, 1921. Representatives from the country’s seven major soccer teams headed up the organization, including Club Sport Herediano, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, and Club Sport Cartagines – three teams still in existence today. Costa Rica officially joined the International Football Association (FIFA) in 1927.

Costa Rica is the most successful national football team in the history of Central America, with eight championships between 1991-2014. They own three CONCACAF titles and they are the only Central American team to have played in four FIFA World Cups.

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