TBT: A soccer match at Costa Rica’s old National Stadium
Soccer in Costa Rica has come a long way.
According to the Costa Rican Soccer Federation (Fedefutbol), the beautiful game’s origins here can be traced to the 1870s — perhaps after a Tico, Oscar Pinto Fernández, returned from England with a ball and a new sport to teach his friends.
Soccer’s popularity grew in Costa Rica in the late 1800s and early 1900s thanks in part to English businessmen (and others with ties to the Old World) who worked here. Fedefutbol explains that “football had the support of the Church and the Government, so it had great development and became Costa Ricans’ favorite sport.”
In 1921, a National Football League was organized, and six years later, Costa Rica became a member of FIFA (International Association of Federation Soccer).
Costa Rica’s first National Stadium, completed in 1924, is pictured above.
Located in La Sabana Park, it was expanded several times over the years to a maximum capacity of about 24,000. (Although that figure probably doesn’t account for the fans who would watch from the roof!)
For 84 years, the National Stadium saw some of Costa Rica’s greatest moments in sports, culture and social events. The stadium hosted figures from soccer hero Pelé to Pope John Paul II, and concerts by Luciano Pavarotti, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen.
But by the early 2000s, the stadium was showing its age and did not fully follow FIFA standards. It was demolished in 2008 and replaced by Costa Rica’s new National Stadium — a gift from the Chinese government, which accompanied the country severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
La Sele’s new home has been a formidable one. At the new National Stadium, Costa Rica’s men’s national team embarrassed the United States 4-0 in a qualifying match and later sealed its spot in the 2018 World Cup.
Costa Rica also hosted the 2014 Under-17 Women’s World Cup and the 2013 Central American Games at the new National Stadium (and managed to set the roof on fire in the process).
You may be interested
LATAM, Latin America’s largest airline, files for bankruptcy in USMiguel SANCHEZ / AFP - May 27, 2020
Shares in Latin America's largest airline plunged on the New York and Santiago stock exchanges on Tuesday after LATAM filed…
Costa Rica adds 28 new coronavirus cases; Health Ministry says Nicaragua is a risk factorAlejandro Zúñiga - May 27, 2020
Costa Rica confirmed 28 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 984 cumulative known cases, the Health…
Costa Rica dental tourism clinic ranked among best in the worldPatrick Goodness / Goodness Dental - May 27, 2020
Costa Rica is consistently ranked as one of the top global dental tourism destinations. The quality of dental care found…