Costa Rica: where soccer is king!
Costa Ricans have always had an enthusiasm for soccer and this is demonstrated by the organizational structure of any typical town; there is always: a church, a public school, a small store (la pulperia) AND a soccer field. It is common to see kids and adults alike gathering for pickup games and anyone who shows up is welcomed onto the field to play; while the encounter is always fun, the desire to show off advanced moves and to win is serious!
Costa Rica in the World Cup: past & present
The Costa Rica national soccer team, known locally as ‘LA SELE’ (La Selección de Fútbol de Costa Rica), in most recent history not only made it into the World Cup, but advanced to the quarter-finals in 2014. The euphoria was palpable!
At the outset of both the last World Cup and this coming 2018 World Cup, the Ticos recognize the challenge of a small country doing well, but their faith in the SELE and harkening back to the 2014 achievements, makes for high hopes for this round.
How Ticos celebrate
Especially during the World Cup games when Costa Rica is playing, the country might feel a bit like time has stopped; during SELE matches there are few cars on the streets, businesses project the games on big screens, and houses are full of families and friends enjoying ‘carne asasda & tortillas’ as they watch with bated breath. Bursting with pride, each tactical victory, and of course ‘GOOOOLLLLL’, is met with celebratory cheers.
If the last World Cup success is any indication, the ‘Fuente de la Hispanidad’, an important San Jose crossroad, will fill with crowds singing, dancing, screaming and crying tears of happiness. The joy of the people reflected on that street demonstrates how unifying a sport can be.
There is no denying that soccer fever is in the air as the 2018 World Cup is starting and the thrill of Costa Rica’s participation will last for weeks, as Costa Rican identity is closely linked to the game – not only watching it but also playing it!
We are using the Costa Rican team jersey as much as we can, and some houses are decorated in the team’s colors: red, white and blue. We invite you to join us in rooting on the SELE during their first game on June 17th! Our country is small but our hopes are big!