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Costa Rica’s soccer coach quits; Tico teen signs with U.K. club

August 14, 2011

Costa Rica’s Argentinian coach Ricardo La Volpe has quit after 11 months in the job, the Costa Rican Football Federation (FCF) announced.

FCF president Eduardo Li said that the decision was mutual. La Volpe will not receive a financial settlement.

La Volpe, 59, took over from Ronald Gonzalez last September with the aim of qualifying the team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after failing to make the previous edition in South Africa last year.

However, Costa Rica suffered several losses in recent friendlies as well as going out in the first round of the Copa America last month.

The former Argentina World Cup-winning goalkeeper previously coached several Mexican clubs and the Mexican national side from 2002 to 2006, as well as stints with Argentinian top flight clubs Boca Juniors and Velez Sarsfield.

One of Costa Rica’s rising stars, however, made a huge deal this week. Top U.K. squad Arsenal agreed to terms with Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa to sign teenage striker Joel Campbell on Friday, the English Premier League club announced on their official website.

The 19-year-old, who was on the Costa Rica squad for the recent Copa America in Argentina and the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia, had been pursued by a host of European clubs.

“Joel Campbell has already shown that he is a player with great ability, and has also performed well on the international stage at a young age,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

“We look forward to the formalities of the transfer being completed and working with Joel when he joins us at Arsenal.”

Campbell has played six times for Costa Rica, scoring two goals. One of those came on his debut in a 5-0 win over Cuba at this year’s Gold Cup as his side reached the quarter-finals.

His second goal came against Bolivia in the Copa America.

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