Soccer or fútbol has been a part of the Costa Rican lifestyle since well before the 1900s. According to many historians, Costa Ricans began playing soccer around 1876. A decade later, Costa Rica established their first official team. England was a part of the creation of Costa Rica’s pastime by providing a regulation sized ball. Along with uniforms and equipment, San Jose County in Tibás, Costa Rica, became the first in the country to promote organized games and sport clubs. By the early 1900s, the people of San Jose Costa Rica had begun practicing and participating in other organized sports including baseball, basketball and horseback riding.
Out of all of these activities and sports, Costa Ricans have long embraced their roots with a widespread love of the game of soccer. Because San Jose is considered the foundation of soccer in Costa Rica, this city has been supporting, preserving and promoting this activity since 1904. After more than seven attempts to form a national soccer federation, Costa Rica joined the National Soccer League (Liga Nacional de Fútbol) on June 13, 1921.
With the help of the seven major soccer teams in Costa Rica, the foundation of this league became a part of a large movement for this country’s culture. This organization gave young children aspirations and goals of becoming a future member of one of the first division soccer teams in Costa Rica. While only three of the seven founding teams exist today, these seven teams are responsible for Costa Rica’s entry into the International Football Association (FIFA) in 1927.
Decades of Activity in Costa Rica
To understand how the league system works in Costa Rica, it is easier to identify them with their own separate categories. The first division league is called UNAFUT. This is the most popular soccer league in Costa Rica and includes four prominent teams: La Liga Deportiva Alajuenlense, Club Sport Herediano, Club Sport Cartagines and Deportivo Saprissa. The remaining divisions are organized as follows:
· LIFUSE: Second division
· ANAFA : Third division
· AFUSCO: Indoor soccer
· ADEFUPLA: Beach Soccer
· ADELIFFE: Women’s Soccer
Every major soccer team in Costa Rica has their own stadium. The national soccer team, Federación Costarricense de Fútbol or La Sele, plays at the National Stadium in San Jose’s Sabana Park. The national team is divided into three teams that travel internationally to compete against some of the best athletes in the world.
Costa Rican soccer players have an impressive history of success which includes being the top national football team in the history of Central America. With eight championships and three CONCACAF titles, Costa Rica is the only national team in Central America to have competed in four FIFA World Cup Editions.
Soccer or football in Costa Rica is a livelihood and pastime for this culture. This sport has not only shaped the history of this country, but the culture as well. Catch a glimpse of the Costa Rica National Football team you can help cheer on the La Sele team to victory!