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Costa Ricans enjoy sports in their daily lives !!

Bullfight critics row on row Crowd the vast arena full, But only one man’s there who knows And he’s the one who fights the bull. ~ Federico Garcia Lorca, 1899-1936 (a favorite quote of JFK)

Kids and adults play basketball, soccer, a little baseball, and swim. Maria del Milagro París was the first Tica to qualify for the swim finals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Costa Rican sisters Sylvia and Claudia Poll, world-class swim competitors, train in San José. Sylvia won the country’s first medal, silver, in 1990. Then in Atlanta, her younger sister Claudia won a gold medal at the Olympics. The country went crazy with pride!

But every Tico is a soccer – fútbol – fan. Soccer is the national sport, with 12 teams in the Primera División that play every Sunday and Wednesday night during the season from December to May / June. Lately, Costa Rica has done very well in international matches. In 1990 the national team advanced to the second round of the World Cup in Italy by beating Scotland and Sweden.

Happily for us, the soccer rivalry between the United States and Costa Rica is heating up, especially after close and physical matches in qualifications to World Cup 2003.World Cup competition takes place every four years and Costa Rica and the US are in the same region, perennially fighting to qualify for the three limited spots against powerful Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and several Caribbean islands, such as Jamaica and Trinidad-Tobago, who also field good teams.

(Equipos de Primera División)

  • Alajuelense (Alajuela)
  • Carmelita (Barrio de Carmen, Alajuela)
  • Cartaginés (Cartago)
  • Herediano (Heredia)
  • Liberia
  • Limón
  • Osa
  • Pérez Zeledón (San Isidro)
  • San Carlos (Quesada)
  • Santa Bárbara
  • Santos (Guapíles)
  • Saprissa (Tibás)

    We attended a 2003 World Cup qualifying match between the US team and the Ticos (Costa Rica won) at the Saprissa Stadium. At the end, every taxi and bus was jammed with celebrating fans, so we had to walk back to town through a gauntlet of flag-waving futból fanatics. Despite our American flag shirts, Tico fans proved themselves good-natured winners.

    If you like soccer, get thee to a stadium to experience a level of enthusiasm that goes off the scale! Bullfighting is pretty much confined to holiday celebrations except in Guanacaste, which is cattle country.

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