Costa Rica: A soccer country
Suffice it to say that, in the news, the sports section is dedicated solely to national soccer. The country might be in crisis but Costa Ricans will always be focused on national soccer scores.
Some people make part of their personality which Costa Rican soccer team they support. We have all kinds of merchandise regarding these soccer clubs, including their own brand of soda.
Unofficially, there’s data about ticos playing soccer in La Sabana around 1876 but in 1887 Oscar Pinto Fernandez came back to Costa Rica from England and, with Gonzalo Quirós Fonseca, they started playing with a uniform in a public park.
Then, around 1894, business men from England came to Costa Rica to build the train and, in the process, they organized in 1899 soccer leagues with the employees of the construction. These took place in Limón (Caribbean side of the country) because international investors were in the plantations of Banana and Coffee.
The first official team was founded on July 13th, 1904 and it was called Club Sport El Josefino. Later that same year on August 10th was founded the Club Sport Costarricense. Fast forward, there were a lot of official soccer teams established in the following years.
Soon people started paying to be able to watch the soccer games. No rules, no statistics, just the joy to be part of the so-called Mejengas.
By 1921 we already had our Soccer National League and joined FIFA in 1927. It changed names to Federación Costarricense de Futbol.
This was huge and made soccer really relevant considering that this was the first sport that Costa Rica was included in to be represented internationally.
Soccer was so culturally important in that moment that the government and the church both financed the development of this sport and is still the favorite sport of Costa Rica. Coffee oligarchy paid and negotiated for soccer to be relevant worldly for mass control. Persons in power positions found it easy for social-politic reasons to keep people happy by placing rules they wouldn’t fight for.
That’s why soccer players have been associated since the beginning to be wealthy people with the time and money to be professionals in this area.
Federación Costarricense de Futbol Leagues:
- UNAFUT (first division)
- LIASCE ( promotion the the first division)
- LINAFA (amateur-second division)
- LIFUTSAL (indoor soccer)
- LIFUPLA ( beach soccer)
- UNIFFUT (female soccer first division)
Top 10 teams and championships winners:
- Deportivo Saprissa – 36 wins
- Liga Deportiva Alajuelense – 30 wins
- Club Sport Herediano – 29 wins
- Club Sport La Libertad – 6 wins
- Club Sport Cartagines – 3 wins
- Orion Futbol Club – 2 wins
- Municipal Puntarenas – 1 win (3 times runner up)
- San Carlos – 1 win (2 times runner up)
- Uruguay de Coronado – 1 win (1 time runner up)
- Municipal Perez Zeledon – 1 win (1 time runner up)
Costa Rican soccer is celebrated by everyone, no matter the social class. International representation for our country fills us with great pride and cultural union. It doesn’t matter if it wins or loses, La Sele has Costa Rica’s full support.